Prospere Condemns Reported Incidents Of ‘Spiking’ Crops – St. Lucia Times

The content originally appeared on: St. Lucia Times News

While decrying the problematic issue of praedial larceny, Agriculture Minister Alfred Prospere has spoken out against the reported illegal measures some farmers are taking to deter thieves.

Lately, reports and videos have been circulating on social media of spikes or pins imbedded in plantains and green bananas.

At a media briefing Monday, Prospere stated that his ministry does not support such practices.

He, therefore, urged farmers to desist from such actions, which could harm consumers.

He said although the ministry had not substantiated the alleged occurrences, the issue warrants a thorough investigation.

“I have heard of it, but I have not seen it anywhere. And if it is something that’s happening, it is very unfortunate for us,” Prospere told reporters.

“But, sometimes we don’t understand the pressures that our farmers go through when they invest their time and money into production …and when they are ready to harvest somebody else would have collected it,” he said.

“And that is why praedial larceny is a major (negating) factor in the agricultural sector that we need to address,” the minister stated.

Prospere explained that about 20 people are attached to the Praedial Larceny Unit within the Ministry of Agriculture and must monitor thousands of acres of food crops.

He proposed that aside from the Praedial Larceny Unit team members, the authorities need to establish “community farming groups” to assist.

“The praedial larceny small team is just not sufficient to be able to address the issues of praedial larceny,” noted Prospere.

Nevertheless, he felt it was unfortunate that customers would visit the market to purchase provisions only to discover that the bananas or plantains contained needles and pins.

Noting that the ministry strongly condemns this practice, he said: “This is something that should never happen…and this is something that we will never encourage as a ministry.”

Photo: Screen grab from social media video

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