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The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries will be stepping up inspections at retail outlets, as it strengthens tracking systems to bolster the fight against praedial larceny/farm theft.

“This year we are moving to put greater emphasis on monitoring end-users…we are not convinced that the thieves can dispose of stolen goods, particularly livestock, without the collaboration of large buyers/distributors,” Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Roger Clarke, told the House of Representatives, on Wednesday, May 8, in his 2013/14 Sectoral Debate presentation.

The Minister explained that the authorities would invoke a number of legal provisions on the statute that regulate the movement and slaughter of animals, “and we are going to cause the registration of purveyors, as required by law.”

“Praedial larceny/farm theft is a societal issue and we err if we view it as a matter only to be tackled by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. We believe that there are enough legal provisions to deal with the matter and we will work collaboratively with our other partners in Government and the farming community to address the problem,” Mr. Clarke said.

Meanwhile, the Minister informed that extension officers were recently presented with tablet computers, as part of efforts to improve field services and ultimately, to grow the agricultural sector.

Noting that the improvement of extension services is an underpinning factor to achieve this goal, Mr. Clarke said the devices would enable the officers to have greater linkages with the various services offered by the Ministry, and greatly improve field service delivery.

“It is part of our efforts to provide an enabling environment for continuous improvement in our extension services,” Minister Clarke noted. He also informed that the farmer field schools, which the Ministry has established, are “proving highly successful.”

Contact: Alphea Saunders