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JIS News

The Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) parish office in St. Thomas, is setting up outlets to make it easier for more than 3,000 farmers to acquire receipt books.
Farmers are required to have receipt books to conduct agricultural transactions with merchants.
Under the Agricultural Produce Act, persons caught transporting agricultural produce without receipts for the goods in their possession, could face fines of up to $250,000 and/or six months in jail.
Parish Manager for the JAS in St. Thomas, Clifton Parris, told JIS News that receipt books were being sold at Headley Richardson’s farm store in Hampton Court, St. Thomas.
“I have identified one person at the farm store, who is well-known. I have entrusted him with a list of all the farmers’ names for that area. I have also left with him a number of books,” he said, adding that similar arrangements have been put in place in the River Head and Goat Ridge communities.
Additionally, the Parish Manager said plans were in progress to set up outlets in Phillipsfield, Leith Hall, Arcadia, Yallahs and Llandewey.
“So far we have sold 41 of the receipt books,” Mr. Parris said, noting that over 3,000 farmers have registered and are eligible for the purchase of receipt books.
“It is imperative. It is to prevent any form of embarrassment or any form of unfriendly situation. What I know is that the Police are out there now and they are working. In order to prevent any distasteful situation, I am asking the farmers to come to the JAS office at Belmont Road in Morant Bay. Come and find out your status as it relates to your farm and purchase your books, because there is no way around the situation,” he said.
Mr. Parris said that currently, JAS officers were sensitizing farmers about the receipt book system and the amendments to the Act. “These books cost $500 and once their names appear on the list, they are qualified registered farmers and need to purchase their books to transact their business,” he emphasised.
He noted that farmers have been visiting the JAS parish office to verify that their names were on the list of legitimate farmers, but were not purchasing the books.
Mr. Parris said that some farmers have complained that the books were too expensive, while others expressed the view that this was a new way by Government to levy tax on them.
Meanwhile, Minister of Agriculture and Lands, Roger Clarke, has reassured farmers that the receipt book system was not a means of taxation being levied on them by the Government.
Clarifying this perception in a recent interview with JIS News, Minister Clarke pointed out that the receipt book would be used as a means of protecting farmers.
“We made it very clear from the beginning that it has nothing to do with taxes . people operating large scale farms even get tax free accommodation, much more a man with two goats,” the Minister said.