Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Floyd Green, says the Ministry plans to roll out a pilot for the proposed Agricultural Wardens Programme this year, in a bid to further curtail the incidents of praedial larceny islandwide.
Additionally, he said that the Ministry will be launching community farm watch groups, with specific focus on targeting market spaces, emphasising that “stolen agricultural produce should have nowhere to go”.
Minister Green was speaking during his 2021/22 Sectoral Debate presentation in the House of Representatives on Wednesday, under the theme ‘The New Face of Food’.
He said that the Ministry has been working closely with the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) to pursue several strategies also aimed at reducing praedial larceny.
These, he indicated, include establishing seven praedial larceny units across seven police divisions, namely Trelawny, St. Catherine North, St. Catherine South, Clarendon, St. Mary, St. Elizabeth, and St. Thomas.
“We have been reaping some success. In fact, we saw a 60 per cent increase in praedial larceny arrests, moving from 72 in 2019 to 114 in 2020. Our praedial larceny operations also moved from 289 in 2019 to 811 [in 2020]… a 180 per cent increase, and we recovered over 70 animals, which were returned to their owners,” Mr. Green told the House.
Emphasising that praedial larceny continues to “be a scourge in our society”, the Minister warned that “more will be done” in the thrust to quash it.