Farmers still continue to feel the pinch by loosing lots of their crops to thieves.
After so much talk, and so much, awareness, which has been experienced among the farming communities throughout the length and breadth of Grenada, farmers are still continuing to suffer great loses with respect to their farm product, without much success, from the Police Task Force Farm Watch, despite having provided them, with more resources now at their disposal.
Let us take a good look at the possible causes of why these things have failed to stop. We are not being mindful of the social effect – we have to open our eyes, as to the level of unemployment, and poverty that Grenada is now faced with.
There has always been praedial larceny but not on this scale. People have great commitment that they cannot meet, while there is no hope from the government, inspite all of the solutions they had offered to the Grenadian people during the election campaign.
Let us not forget that there is real poverty in the society. While I will not condone praedial larceny in no form or fashion, so too we have to improve the standard of living in the country, especially among the rural communities whereby many of these same communities are those that have been most affected by loosing the banana trade to the banana planters in Central America.
This is leaving hundreds of persons very vulnerable thus adversely affecting the economic livelihood of these poor rural communities.
It must be known that persons who engage in stealing, harvesting, and selling of other farmers crops, like nutmeg, cocoa, bananas, dasheen, plantain, watermelon are selling those crops by contract to illegal buyers. This is where the problem lies.
There are other persons who will go to another farmer’s plot in the lonely hours of the night and don’t take any thing, but spitefully cut up acres of crops like watermelon and other crops worth thousands of dollars as had happen in the past without being brought to justice.
The destroyed crops could have improved food security in these areas – these crops are the economic life-blood of those villages.
It allows the farmers to feed their families and send their children to school. Remember we do not have unemployment benefits in this country.
At the same time, while people are calling for the arming of farmers due to the gravity of the situation in resolving this problem, I will not support this idea of distributing guns.
Imagine that you have to arm over seven thousand farmers with guns throughout Grenada? Think of what can happen in the lives of those same farmers, especially not having the right environment or type of training, for the safe keeping, without these guns getting into the hands of criminals, and escalating domestic crimes and more violence within the homes and villages.
It is a great responsibility to bear firearms. The consequences can be grave.
Persons are still continuing to sell large portions of stolen produce from farmers’ plots along the city’s sidewalks and streets throughout the country thus making food consumption very unsafe.
I am calling for greater consultation among the farming communities, and the police to see how they can come up with some creative ways of eradicating this menace in the society.
Also we ought to be mindful of how we go about defining who is a farmer. There are persons who earn or work a ten acre plot. While there are persons who earn or work a half an acre plot, but they are all considered to be farmers.
I can recall that during the Grenada Revolution, the PRG had confiscated almost all of the firearms in Grenada, in fear of counter-revolutionary reprisal.
Today there is no need to be worried because most sizable farmers had a shotgun or twelve gauge, moreso through the Hunters association to be largely used in securing their property.
As a result, persons were afraid to enter such farmers lands. Even the birds were afraid to eat the ripe banana in such persons lands.
Some of these farmers should be vetted by the police – they need to take a good look into their background and investigate the status of those bigger farmers and issue them with the twelve gauge guns.
This will greatly improve the situation among these farmers but not the little farmers.
Let’s not only talk the talk but we must also walk the walk.