Call for ‘agro-cops’
IICA rep: Praedial larceny needs to be tackled
Agriculturists are again crying shame over praedial larceny in Barbados and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) representative for the country has called for the introduction of “agriculture police” to fight the problem.
Speaking at an IICA Press conference at the Baobab Tower in Warrens this morning, Ena Harvey said that until the problem is tackled the island will continue to see an exodus of farmers from the sector.
“Until we develop a respect for agriculture and a respect for our farmers as the providers of our food, our health, then we will continue to take advantage of them,” she said.
“If agriculture is important to our land preservation, our landscape, if our farmers are seen as important as the tourists then we will protect our farmers and protect our food and we will not keep on adopting this dishonest practice of reaping another person’s labour. I have gone to Nicaragua and El Salvador and there are tourism police for rural tourism, with jackets marked tourism police. Why don’t we have agriculture police?
“When a farmer puts in sweat, gets up early to feed animals, to cut grass, to tend a crop and then somebody comes and reaps that crop, steals that animal, it is heart breaking.
“And when you do that to a farmer or producer, that is one more farmer who says ‘I am not going back into agriculture’, that is one more piece of land that is not going to be farmed, so it comes to a basic consciousness that farming is important, that our agriculture is important, that our farmers are important and that they are not just people who have no other skills. They feed us and if they are concerned about our health and our families and our livelihood then we will respect farming,” Harvey added.
The IICA official acknowledged that praedial larceny is a very difficult crime for police but she appealed to all Barbadians to get involved and play their part by reporting such crimes when they saw them.
She also implored them to take out their cellular phones and record such incidents when they see them.
“When you see produce being sold illegally or harvested illegally, report it to crime stoppers immediately; there is a reward. It is a crime and we really have to become more honest and more respectful for agriculture and our farmers and to make sure that we have that long-term view. When you steal from a farmer, when you eat produce that have chemicals on it, when you try to sell it, you are really harming yourself and your family,” she added.