Roban meets farmers to discuss increase in thefts from fields
Farmers have had the chance to discuss their problems with thefts from fields with a Government minister.
Walter Roban, the home affairs minister, met farmers to talk about the problems they faced – including theft of crops at night – and ways the sector could be boosted.
A Government spokeswoman said: “Since the Covid-19 pandemic, the incidence of night farming across Bermuda has increased significantly, with reports of theft now occurring during the day.
“Generally, those most impacted are commercial farmers who rely on selling their produce to provide for themselves and their families.
Mr Roban met farmers Daniel Renaud, Carlos Amaral and Roger Pacheco Jr in Devonshire and Tom Wadson in Smith’s recently.
Mr Roban said: “The issue of night farming has been a cause of concern for farmers and home gardeners in Bermuda for many years and this Government remains committed to working with the Bermuda Farming Association to address the growing incidence of theft.”
The Royal Gazette last week highlighted an increase in thefts from farmland across the island.
Rowland Hill Jr, the owner of J&J Produce in Warwick, said farmers believed that their crops were being stolen to order.
He added that losses regularly ran into thousands of dollars and that thieves also trampled on and destroyed plants as they raided fields.
Police said other targeted crops included “significant quantities” of beets and green zucchini.
Tom Wadson said his Southampton farm had lost “200 to 300lb of bananas a week”.
He added he had been forced to beef up security with more fencing and gates.
Mr Renaud said one of his plots, at the foot of Brighton Hill, was recently raided for carrots.
A police spokesman warned that stolen vegetables might have been chemically treated and could pose a health danger if eaten.
He added: “Stealing agricultural produce, or receiving such goods, carries a maximum fine of $10,000 or five years in prison.”
The spokesman appealed for anyone with information on the thefts to contact police.