Many farmers in Antigua and Barbuda are faced with praedial larceny ever so often and last week Wednesday, farmer, Alvin Christian has been a victim of this. He arrived on his farm to an extremely devastating sight where majority of his citrus plants and coconut trees were destroyed.
His farm is one of the few in the country, which still grows citrus fruits in abundance and he had just recouped after suffering major coconut tree losses to the lethal yellowing disease.
“It is extremely disheartening in a time when food security is such a serious thing and at a time when there are so many diseases that are destroying various plants, invasive species of insects and other diseases we are encountering as farmers, so to have somebody destroy so blatantly the very thing we need for survival, it’s crazy,” expressed Mr. Christian.There are extra security measures that farmers can put in place to protect themselves from these acts of violence. However, Mr. Christian says that everything comes with a cost and it is a question of whether your returns on the farm will be able to maintain the cost of security but he also thinks that farmers should not have to be in a position to implement these.
“Why should we have to do that nature of security in agriculture, when the livelihood of everyone is dependent on food, whether you’re directly involved in the sector or not, why do we want to destroy ourselves’” stated Mr. Christian.
It is even more disheartening given that it is anticipated that food costs will go up significantly because of the shipping problem worldwide, and given that the country is already under produced in relation to its consumption.
Mr. Christian says what he would like to know the most is what motivated the intruders to do such a despicable act. He hopes that it will not dishearten other farmers and they will continue to try and press on to see if they can arrest the food security problem and still be hopeful in spite of the negativity that would have derived from this.