JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The recently established Praedial Larceny Prevention Unit will be increasing engagement with the farming community as it works to tackle the scourge of praedial larceny, which is costing the agricultural sector some $6 billion annually.
  • Information sharing is critical to the success of the unit.
  • The entity in carrying out its work is forging partnerships with key stakeholders and making use of technology.

The recently established Praedial Larceny Prevention Unit will be increasing engagement with the farming community as it works to tackle the scourge of praedial larceny, which is costing the agricultural sector some $6 billion annually.

“Information sharing is…critical to the success of the unit. We need to share information and communicate effectively with farmers,” said Sergeant Damian Harry, who is attached to the unit in the Ministry of Agriculture, Labour and Social Security.

He noted that “in time passed, the overwhelming sentiment from farmers is that they are suffering and nobody is doing anything, so we hope to change that perception and engage the use of the media to get the message out.”

Sergeant Harry, who was addressing a recent JIS Think Tank, said the entity in carrying out its work is forging partnerships with key stakeholders and making use of technology, “We recognise and appreciate that a $6 billion a year problem needs partnership with major stakeholders.  So, we collaborate with entities such as the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), the media, Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), community groups, the Ministry of Justice and lay magistrate associations to form meaningful partnership and strategic alliances,” he noted.

In terms of utilising technology, Sergeant Harry cited the use of the Agricultural Business Information Systems (ABIS) to help in the verification of information such as the traceability of goods.

There is also the National Animal Identification Traceability System (NAITS), through which every head of cattle and other livestock will be tagged and issued a passport. The passport will contain critical information about the animal and will be mandatory for movement of all animals. The system is in the pilot phase.

“We want to take back all the profits from farming that are going to the praedial thieves. We will use all the tools in our power to ensure that farmers reap what they sow,”   he said.

The Praedial Larceny Prevention Unit was established in March in direct response to the high level of farm theft that is negatively impacting the viability of the agricultural sector.

The mandate of the unit, which is headed by Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Kevin Francis, is to coordinate all praedial larceny activities islandwide.