Farmers are not the only ones feeling the effects of praedial larceny.
Over the past few weeks, crops used for trials at the Ministry of Agriculture’s headquarters at Graeme Hall, Christ Church, have been the target of thieves.
Senior Agricultural Officer, Plant Protection, Michael James, said the stolen crops included onions, carrots and cabbages — all of which had been sprayed. He pointed out that in some instances, pesticides were administered a day prior to the thefts.
“Since the days-to-harvest period would not have been met, these crops would therefore have retained high levels of chemical residue. The ministry is, therefore, asking persons to desist from the dangerous activity of illegally harvesting crops and we ask the public to be very careful with their purchases of fruit and vegetables. The public is also encouraged not to purchase produce from unknown persons,” he cautioned.
James explained that various research units of the Ministry such as Agronomy, Entomology and Plant Pathology, carried out experiments on a number of food (fruit, vegetable and condiments) and ornamental crops.
These experiments, on most occasions, entailed the use of organic and inorganic pesticides which were applied at different rates and times, he noted.
The Senior Agricultural Officer further added that the use of these chemicals required an observance period known as days-to-harvest or pre-harvest interval. This interval, he explained, referred to the number of days that must pass between the last application of a pesticide and harvesting of the crop.