by Linda Straker
- Nutmeg farmers not spared from menace of praedial larceny
- Small group of parasitic thieves cannot be allowed to undermine national development
- 11 roads and 2 bridges under Feeder Roads Phase II Project
“The issue of Praedial larceny is a scourge that must be addressed more effectively than we have done to this point,” was one of the messages from Agriculture Minister Peter David when he addressed farmers during the annual meeting of the Grenada Nutmeg Cooperative Association (GCNA). “I have listened to some of the stories that farmers relate about their experiences in this regard. And what is most worrying is that many of them are contemplating leaving farming as a result of this. Nutmeg farmers are not spared from this menace, hence addressing praedial larceny is important for the wellbeing of the nutmeg sub-sector as it is for other sub-sectors that are more affected,” David told the delegates representing the thousands of farmers throughout the island.
David said that while the Government has made significant steps in this regard, particularly with the Praedial Larceny Act passage, much more has to be done. “We at the ministry met with the Assistant Commissioner of Police only last week on this matter and I assure you that new initiatives will be rolled out very soon. We cannot allow a small group of parasitic thieves to undermine the national development of this country,” he informed the farmers.
The Praedial Larceny Act amendments provide for soursop to be treated as a special crop and traders, including suppliers and purchasers, must be licenced and or be the holder of a farmer’s identification cards for verification of trading purposes.
Another major issue to nutmeg farmers is access to farms. According to David who became Agriculture Minister in October, the Government is working towards the reality of constructing 11 roads and 2 bridges under the Feeder Roads Phase II Project. That project is expected to cost EC$46 million.
“This project will improve access to hundreds of acres of agricultural lands. In addition to this the SAEP project is moving forward with the planned rehabilitation of 10 farm roads. I have met with both SEAP and the contractor for the Feeder Roads Phase II Project, and I urged them to accelerate with the implementation of these road projects in order to make maximum use of the favourable conditions during the dry season,” he said.
In addition to the construction of the roads and bridges, Government is also discussing partnerships with contractors to assist on a voluntary basis with the clearing of some roads in areas where they may have assets involved in other work. So far, the responses have been favourable.
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