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JIS News

Scores of farmers from St. Elizabeth gathered at the Salvation Army Church Hall at Top Hill yesterday (Dec.14), to learn more about the receipt book system, which has been put in place by government, to address the problem of praedial larceny.
The sensitization session, organized by the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), was the first of a series of road shows being held across the island, which are targeted at farmers and purchasers of agricultural produce.
In addition to informing farmers about how they can benefit from the use of the receipt books, the road shows are also intended to increase the registration of farmers and the distribution of receipt books; to enable the Island Special Constabulary Force (ISCF) to become acquainted with genuine farmers and build a closer relationship with them; and also to respond to various queries that farmers and purchasers may have about the receipt books.
Public Relations Officer at the JAS, Camille Beckford, told JIS News that while “the turnout of the farmers today is not as much as we would like.for the next road show that we are planning, we would hope to .get them out, because that is who we are targeting specifically and also purchasers of agricultural produce”.
“Naturally we’re going islandwide with this and we hope that whenever we have the town criers, farmers do come out and find out more about how to use the receipt books,” Miss Beckford added, assuring that “the book does affect the farmers and helps in the fight against praedial larceny”.
In her address to the farmers, the JAS Public Relations Officer pointed out that “praedial larceny is one of the greatest deterrents to food production, livestock development and continued investment in Jamaica,” costing the agricultural sector 25 per cent of potential earnings, which was about $4 billion per year.
“The new Bill, the Amendment to the Agricultural Produce Act, is a workable solution,” Miss Beckford told the farmers, noting that, the legislation would strengthen the existing laws and allow for the protection of farmers’ produce.
Under the Bill, the definition of agricultural produce has been extended to include fish, livestock and a myriad of other things that were not included in the original Act. The fine for breaches under the Act has also been increased from $1,000 to $250,000.
The next praedial larceny road show will take place in the parish of Manchester. The shows will be staged for three months until March 31 next year. The ISCF and RADA are partners in the process.
The JAS is recommending that a special hotline be established in every parish for the reporting of suspicious movements as it relates to the theft of agricultural produce.