Thursday 3 December, 2020

Grenada to root out praedial larceny

Praedial larceny and greater efficiency in the Farm Labour Support Programme are major issues which the Ministry of Agriculture will have to address in Grenada.  

Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell shared this view during his meeting yesterday with the new Minister of Agriculture, Lands and Forestry, Peter David and his senior staff.  

Despite recent initiatives taken by the government, including the amendment of legislation, praedial larceny continues to be a problem area for farmers. 

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Mitchell said: “We need to come up with innovative ways to provide greater security for our farmers.  

What we have done, has helped, but we need to do more to help farmers safeguard their crops.

They are frustrated with the constant pilfering of their produce and it is not fair to them. 

If we are encouraging young people to see agriculture as a viable business to invest in, then we must seek innovative ways to ensure that other persons do not reap the benefits of their hard labour.  

We must make greater use of technology and demonstrate to farmers that we are committed to working closely with them to curb this problem.” 

The government is exploring initiatives to spur economic activity as part of its recovery strategy to combat the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The prime minister suggested that areas like sea moss production can be used to generate business while at the same time, create opportunities for young people. 

On the subject of Government’s Farm Labour Support Programme, Mitchell said while this is a useful initiative, it must be properly managed to ensure maximum benefit for farmers.  

He said: “As we focus more on optimising expenditure, we must ensure that initiatives such as these are operated efficiently and that they are having the desired impact on beneficiaries.  

We need to closely examine the programme and ensure that government’s investment is in fact benefitting farmers.” 

The Prime Minister also reiterated the need for agricultural commodity boards to better serve the need of farmers.  

He said: “These commodity boards have existed for decades but under the present structure, farmers have no real benefit. We must liberalise and effect real change in the lives of farmers.  

I repeat here that government is not interested in controlling these boards, what we are seeking to do, is to ensure that they empower our farmers.  

I speak from the heart, as the son of a farmer - if we do not effect change, we would be doing a serious disservice to the farming community.” 

Mitchell added that although the COVID-19 pandemic has created challenges it has also unveiled opportunities one of them being a renewed focus on agriculture.  

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