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Antigua: Duty-free CCTV to help farmers protect property against thieves

Farmers will be able to import CCTV cameras duty-free under new government plans aimed at reducing widespread theft of livestock and produce.

The moves were unveiled last week in a bid to help farmers, some of whom are being forced out of business.

“Praedial larceny is rampant and that has put a lot of our livestock farmers out of business. A lot of coconut is being stolen from people’s farms and being sold on the open market for $5. I know a farmer whose jelly is being stolen almost every other day,” Owolabi Elabanjo, senior extension officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, told Observer.

A concerned Elabanjo said farmers were already struggling due to low food production, on account of drought and other factors, and constant theft was exacerbating their problems.

Minister of Information Melford Nicholas addressed the issue in the post-Cabinet press briefing last Thursday. He said allowing farmers to bring in duty-free cameras would help them “detect and identify” thieves, and boost food security at the same time.

Elabanjo said, “We encourage them to install solar-powered cameras with lights on their farms … And some of these cameras you can install them and have them on your phone, so you may be at home and you can go through to check on your farm to see what is happening.” Elabanjo said the idea had already been well received by farmers.

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