Monitor the market to catch crop thieves
While Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Agricultural Society (BAS) James Paul, is happy that stiffer penalties are being put in place for those who continue to deprive farmers of produce, he says the issue of traceability is one that needs to be the focus.
Mr Paul says too many farmers and families in Barbados are suffering at the hands of persons who don’t want to toil but want to get money.
He said that the Minister of Agriculture David Estwick is doing all he can to ensure that the legislation is amended, and that harsher penalties are put in place, but Mr Paul says the problem is not one that can be solved by legislation alone.
According to Mr Paul, one of the things they are trying to introduce in the system is traceability: “How do we trace commodities in terms of they are being produced and where is it going to?”
What it requires he says is a greater commitment on the part of those persons who are supposed to police the system. He says his consistent call for a greater monitoring of the markets has fallen on deaf ears.
“We have a situation where we have a plethora of farmers markets in the country in which a lot of manufacturing products are being sold, but to what extent are we monitoring and know the sources of what are sold in those markets,” he questioned.
Mr Paul notes that one has to have documentation from persons who are selling in those markets and what he says is upsetting is that the quantity of animals and products stolen, “has to go somewhere”.
“And there are very few places in Barbados -which is 166 square miles - that you can go and sell agricultural produce!"
Mr Paul says he is not satisfied with the monitoring process, emphasizing that legislation alone cannot make this practice go away.