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Cattle farmers' group says yes to animal tagging but...

Published:Thursday | April 24, 2014 | 9:35 AM

Damion Mitchell, Editor Radio & Online

The Jamaica Red Poll Cattle Breeders' Society has welcomed the proposals announced by the agriculture minister aimed at addressing the problem of farm theft.

According to chairman, Martin Hopwood, desperate cattle farmers reeling from persistent farm theft are anxious to try any new measure that will cause relief.

But Hopwood is not excited because he says the police have not been treating the issue of praedial larceny with any urgency.

"The farmers don't get the impression that we are getting as much help from the police," he said.

Yesterday, the agriculture minister, Roger Clarke, announced that this year, under a new "game-changing programme", every head of cattle will be electronically tagged and issued a passport.

He also said a DNA database has already been developed.

In addition, Clarke has announced that a praedial larceny unit will be set up in his ministry to deal exclusively with the issue.

The Jamaica Agricultural Society estimates that every year farmers lose about $5 billion worth of crops and livestock to thieves.

But according to Martin, it appears that the problem is getting worse.

"There is hardly a week that you don't hear of people's animals being stolen," he said, noting that only recently he lost $100,000 worth of pigs to thieves.


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