- Senator Norman Grant expressed his organisation’s support for the most drives to stamp out praedial larceny.
- Last year, some 559 cases of praedial larceny were reported, and that 59 of these were resolved before the Courts.
- The President also welcomed the move by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries to have all butchers licensed.
President of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), Senator Norman Grant, has expressed his organisation’s support for the most recent measures being put in place, or proposed, to stamp out praedial larceny.
Speaking at a post-Board meeting briefing at the Society’s downtown Kingston headquarters on October 9, Senator Grant said in addition to assigning a special squad to apprehend those who engage in and support the crime, the call to increase the fines, “is an absolute necessity.”
Emphasising that the JAS will support the Ministry in this regard, the President said, “we should pass the laws, and we should make those farm terrorists pay for their wicked crimes.” He noted that last year, some 559 cases of praedial larceny were reported, and that 59 of these were resolved before the Courts.
While pointing out that this was 15 more than the number of cases cleared up the previous year, Senator Grant said there were still 500 unresolved, and that it was the opinion of the JAS that close to 1,500 cases were unreported.
“Let’s report more…and we say to the judiciary, let us bring them to swift justice,” the President said.
Senator Grant said the Board is calling for the establishment of an agricultural Court to handle praedial larceny cases, which would allow for expediency.
In relation to traceability, he said the JAS lauded the move by the Ministry to ensure accountability along the entire value chain.
“There are many establishments which know when they are buying meat from sources that are suspect, and these establishments must understand that they should ask and establish that the seller is in legitimate possession of the goods, and when they buy and don’t ask for the evidence, then the buyer needs to pay the consequences. Ignorance is no excuse,” Senator Grant said.
The President also welcomed the move by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries to have all butchers licensed.
According to government statistics, the agricultural sector suffers in excess of $5 billion in losses to praedial larceny per annum.
Meanwhile, Senator Grant said efforts continue to address the matter of marketing, which is another major challenge for the Jamaican farmer. To this end, a Project Co-ordinator has been identified for the Central Marketing System, which is being established.
“We will be moving ahead over the next six months, to not only connect with our farmers, but to operationalise this framework that will bring about income and wealth in a sustainable way to our farmers, and will solve a major problem for rural families,” he added.
Senator Grant noted that the ‘Eat Jamaican’ campaign is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, and would be re-organized through the launch of a ‘zero hunger’ programme. The drive will focus on food security; rural development; and poverty eradication, through wealth creation in the area of primary value added agriculture.
Several activities have been planned for November to observe the anniversary. These include a church service on November 3 at the Portmore New Testament Church of God, in St. Catherine; Eat Jamaican day celebrations on the lawns of King’s House on November 25; the issuing of a revised Eat Jamaican proclamation to focus on the Zero Hunger programme (November 25); Eat Jamaican anniversary awards, also on November 25; launch of the Eat Jamaican cookbook on November 25; parish celebrations; Eat Jamaican farmers’ cook off competition; and a schools quiz competition.