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JIS News

Acting Deputy Commandant of the Island Special Constabulary Force (ISCF), Douglas Fletcher is warning praedial thieves that the Police will not relent in ensuring that they are caught and prosecuted.
In an interview with JIS News, he pointed out that farmers were incurring losses on a yearly basis because of praedial thieves and as such, the ISCF would be pulling out all the stops to ensure that, “those who did not plant, would not reap”.
Commenting on the effectiveness of the receipt book system in nabbing criminals, the Acting Deputy Commandant pointed out that only farmers who are registered with the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) offices would be able to purchase the receipt books.
He informed that a re-sensitization campaign would be undertaken soon to encourage all farmers to get registered.
“I am hoping that within another two weeks those unregistered farmers will start registering with RADA, because we are going to be very forceful where this is concerned, as this is the only way we are going to stamp out praedial larceny, to some extent,” he said.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.
Within the coming weeks, Mr. Fletcher said that members of the ISCF would be out in their numbers to patrol the streets in search of persons coming into Kingston from farming communities, who might have stolen goods.
To date, RADA has registered some 100,000 farmers, of which some 70,000 have been confirmed and verified. The Ministry of Agriculture and Lands has donated some $5 million to the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) for the printing of receipt books. The Ministry is therefore encouraging all farmers to get registered and purchase receipt books, as the system would be beneficial to them.
Statistics from the Ministry show that praedial larceny is costing the agricultural sector some $4 billion annually, which represents 25 per cent of the total production of the industry.