Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr., has lauded the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) as a significant partner in achieving food security through its measures to stem praedial larceny.
Addressing Wednesday’s (July 13) Praedial Larceny Prevention Workshop in Montego Bay, the Minister noted that “(The JCF) plays a very important role not just for national security, but for the food security issue as well.”
He underscored that the partnership between the Ministry to address a major issue affecting the agriculture sector, serves to protect local farmers and their investments, as well as the food that is consumed by Jamaicans, especially amid the global food crisis.
Praedial larceny, which is defined as the theft of agriculture produce, is estimated to result in the loss of more than $5 billion each year, by Jamaican farmers.
“It is perhaps the largest challenge that we have in expanding our agriculture sector and bringing in more investments so that we can truly be food secure and have food for all Jamaica and for the region,” the Minister pointed out.
When convicted, praedial thieves face hardened jail time, as well as fines of up to $5 million. The police play an active role in bringing these perpetrators to justice.
The Minister commended members of the force, noting that “you play an important part in ensuring that every boy, girl, mother and father in Jamaica can get food on their table.”
He also used the opportunity to “reaffirm the commitment from myself as Minister and the Ministry, to the strong partnership with the JCF. We can’t do this without you.”
The Praedial Larceny Prevention Workshop was hosted by the Praedial Larceny Prevention Unit of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries under the heading, ‘Taking a zero-tolerance approach to Praedial theft – Prevention, Compliance and Enforcement.’
It is geared at identifying risk-reducing strategies to curb the crime, as well as encouraging and strengthening the enforcement initiatives of the JCF in praedial larceny prevention and risk reduction.