Praedial larceny highlighted as high priority item for  Caribbean Agriculture Week
President of the Agriculture Alliance of the Caribbean (AACARI), Errington Thompson
June 21, 2024

Praedial larceny highlighted as high priority item for Caribbean Agriculture Week

In a few months, regional and international stakeholders will convene in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), for the 18th session of Caribbean Agriculture Week, and one of the priority items on the agenda is expected to be solutions to the vexing issue of praedial larceny.

The launch was held virtually on Friday June 14, 2024, and attended by representatives from the local Ministry of Agriculture, regional governing bodies, as well as from international donor agencies including the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

President of the Agriculture Alliance of the Caribbean (AACARI), Errington Thompson, during his remarks, highlighted a laundry list of concerns which he said will, hopefully, be addressed at the 29th Conference of Parties (COP29) in November, one month after the October 7 to 11 meeting in SVG.

Thompson tabled a number of recommendations to be considered ahead of the October meeting if CARICOM countries are to make a reality, the goal of reducing regional food imports by 25 percent by 2025.

“In most countries praedial larceny is a major reason why farmers are unable to make ends meet. We must pass specific laws to apprehend and punish perpetrators,” Thompson stressed.

Other recommendations also include poor data collection methods for food production and agriculture output, as well as proper support for farmers during times of adverse weather conditions such as drought.

“Our region must improve data collection and establish base lines for every aspect of food production and agriculture. Many farmers are struggling and in need of support – financial and otherwise, many have suffered devastating losses from hurricanes, rising sea levels, drought and intense forest fires. We must develop a system to assist farmers with their water needs and irrigation methods. These would allow farmers to improve their yield and income.”

Minister of Agriculture, Saboto Caesar, delivering remarks at the launch, also highlighted the challenges that praedial larceny poses to countries in the region.

“We are impacted by the vagaries of climate change, but we are also grappling with the impacts of praedial larceny and an ageing farming population; and for the Windward Islands, the removal of trade preferences for bananas. We have to reflect on how all these situations are impacting on food production.”

He described CWA 2024 as a “time for preparation” in developing solutions that can be of benefit to the Caribbean region.

CWA is being held under the theme ‘Climate Smart Agriculture for a Sustainable Future’, and will focus on how implementing innovative technologies can revolutionize the agri-food systems in the region.

CWA will comprise workshops, trade exhibitions, and field visits, as well as high-level ministerial meetings. The Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) Board of Governors Meeting; the meeting of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Agriculture Ministers; and the Caribbean Agricultural Health and Food Safety Agency (CAHFSA) Board of Directors meeting will also be held during this forum.

The event will also award the CARICOM Farmer of the Year, and the Ministers of Agriculture CARICOM Young Farmer of the Year.