Oct 14, 2008

Call them to account

says Paul

BARBADOS. Nation Newspaper. Barbados Leading Newspaper; Oct.13, 2008.

BARBADOS NEEDS stronger policies to deal with people who buy stolen produce. James Paul chief executive officer of the Barbados Agricultural Society (BAS), in making the point said farmers were losing their crops on an ongoing basis and, as a nation, Barbados had to clamp down on this activity. "We have a way of ignoring certain things according to who is involved in them. What is happening is that the people involved in praedial larceny are being ignored by the authorities," he said during a BAS Agrofest livestock presentation seminar on Saturday at Blue Horizon Hotel, Rockley, Christ Church. "It seems that in our society, when you do wrong, you are right. There is a network in Barbados where people arrange to steal produce and we need to condemn this in strong terms," he said.

He said that if praedial larceny continued unchecked it would result in less private sector investment and in agriculture operating below par, which would hurt Barbados.

"It's not a case where agriculture is not profitable; the level of wages for agricultural workers is better then some other occupations, but still we have the problem of people stealing rather than working," he said.

Paul also referred to farmer Patrick Bethell's battle with crop thieves as "a tragedy".

Bethell recently destroyed the remainder of his one-acre cassava field, worth between $30 000 and $40 000, after thieves took more than 100 plants in an 11-day period.

"I think it is a tragic event, especially since we are trying to get farmers to grow cassava.

"I understand why Bethell destroyed his crop although I was hoping to convince him to follow a different route, but he was making a point," he said.

The cost of feed has been a major worldwide bone of contention as corn, a major ingredient, is being used in ethanol production. Barbados has recently asked farmers to grow cassava, which could be used as a substitute in feed. (CA)

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