Home Secretary Walter Roban visited another local farmer to ‘continue to discuss the increase in theft incidents and proven security strategies’.
“The Minister, who was accompanied by Chief Agriculture Officer Mr Tommy Sinclair, also discussed the industry’s ongoing challenges facing farmers,” a spokesperson said.
“The public will be aware of the term ‘night farming’ used to describe the theft of produce from farms and gardens, which is usually carried out under cover of darkness.
“Since the pandemic, the incidence of nighttime farming in Bermuda has increased significantly, with thefts even being reported during the day.
“Generally the hardest hit are commercial farmers who rely on the sale of their produce to support themselves and their families.”
Following the visit, Minister Roban said, “Like any business, the theft of items it would otherwise sell has a significant impact on the success of this business.
“To put it into perspective, stealing produce from farmers and causing damage in the act is no different than a thief breaking into a brick and mortar store and stealing goods.”
The minister continued: “Furthermore, farming is extremely laborious and, despite a lot of blood, sweat and tears, the profit margins are quite narrow. Therefore, when people steal for whatever reason, they take food from farmers and impact their livelihoods. This behavior is unacceptable and must stop.
“Having said that, I recognize that in these difficult times, many people find themselves unemployed through no fault of their own. I recognize that some people in this country who are struggling to feed their families may resort to agriculture from night in desperation.
“To these people, if you have not already done so, I urge you to contact the Financial Aid Department as support is available for families in need.
“The public will know that a large part of the products we consume are imported. However, our island’s food security and sustainability is highly dependent on local farmers supplementing what we eat. We cannot take for granted the importance of local farmers to our way of life.
“As part of Bermuda’s economic recovery plan, diversifying our economy through the growth of new and existing industries is one of this government’s priorities.
“The agricultural industry and the opportunities it presents are of great importance to the future of Bermuda. This government is actively researching future farming methods and technologies, such as vertical farming, that can increase locally sourced products to further secure this local industry.
“The opportunity is there, and we need to encourage the adoption of these technologies and attract these enthusiastic and industrious young Bermudians into the agricultural industry as a career opportunity.”
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