JIS News

Minister of Agriculture and Lands, Roger Clarke, has reassured farmers that the receipt book system is not a means of taxation being levied on them by the Government.
Clarifying this perception in an interview with JIS News, Minister Clarke pointed out that the receipt book would be used as a means of protecting farmers. “If they are not willing to help in protecting their produce and livestock,” he argued, “then Jamaica’s agricultural sector will be in problems”.
“We made it very clear from the beginning that it has nothing to do with taxes . people operating large scale farms even get tax free accommodation much more a man with two goats,” the Minister said.
He noted that while some farmers have not been co-operating with the Ministry’s thrust to get registered, there was a drive to get the additional farmers registered.
The Minister pointed out that the use of receipt books was now in full effect and that 50 members from the Island Special Constabulary Force (ISCF) were trained and are ready to begin working.
“When you have the receipt book system in place.when you catch a man with a goat and you ask him where he got that goat and he doesn’t present his receipt, you hold on to him. Everybody has to co-operate if the system is to work,” Mr. Clarke stressed.
The receipt book is the official document of trade with the JAS, which is the sole distributor through its branch offices. It will feature a unique registration number for each farmer and this number will be used by the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), under its Agri-Business Information System (ABIS), enabling the authorities to electronically verify the origin of the produce. In addition, the law has increased the maximum fine for breaches of the Act from $1,000 to $250,000.
As at January 31, some 93,000 farmers from 13 parishes were registered under the National Farmers Registration Programme, with some 60,000 being verified as legitimate farmers to legally trade agricultural produce.

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