A Mt Royal farmer who cultivates a plot in Mt Pleasant is today angry and frustrated after about fifteen unfettered cattle ravished his crops on Friday morning; and warns that if the law cannot better protect farmers, he would do what is necessary to ensure that he, and not animals, reap the fruits of his labor.
Calvin Andrew stood in shock and disbelief observing the effects of the animals having swept through his two acres of corn and cantaloupe. Mr Andrew who is a well-known farmer says that it was painful to witness the level of destruction, which he suffered.
With decades of farming in the community, he adds that this kind of loss is repeatedly perpetrated by one animal owner. Mr Andrew says that after receiving a phone call he journeyed down to the farm only to be traumatized by what he saw.
“When I got here about 6 a.m. I was devastated to see fifteen cows ravishing my crops.
I have over three hundred stools of corn and a field of cantaloupe totally ravished by the animals. These crops were ready for market.
This is what we have been enduring for the last thirty years because of the animals of Mr Fleary”.
He says that he will be doing his valuation then take it to the Agriculture Department so that they would conduct their assessment before sending the bill to the owner of the animals.
Mr Andrew says that it’s frustrating knowing that he and his team would now have to re-fence and replant the garden.
This distress suffered by Mr Andrew is similar to what other crop farmers in the Mt Pleasant community often have to endure without their getting any proper compensation for their labour and items. Mr Andrew says that once this continues unabated, it would deter persons from getting into farming. He adds that in his area only one livestock farmer has been responsible for inflicting pain on crop farmers.
“The law of the state is clear; to kill the animals when they are found distressing the property. Most people cannot do that.
“I have been working in the pound (Agriculture Department) and we have impounded this gentleman’s animals more two hundred times
“Every time it happens he retrieves them and lets them go again to destroy people’s crops so this is an often-repeated occurrence.
“Once this continues unabated we would see this beautiful land with its rich soil and agriculture going down the drain in the future”, said a sad sounding Mr Andrew.
He said, the government needs to get tough on these delinquent animal farmers otherwise it would cripple the importance of crop farming.
Mr Andrew said that he could recall about twenty years ago picking up a professor in farming at the airport and on their way the professor was shocked to see that the issue of stray animals was still very prevalent on the island.
“I remember him saying to me, St Vincent, Barbados, St Lucia among other countries had it; why is it taking this country so long to get rid of it”, recalled Mr Andrew.