The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) will be establishing an Agricultural Produce Protection Division as part of efforts to intensify the clampdown on praedial larceny.
The Praedial Larceny Prevention Unit will be subsumed under this division.
J.C. Hutchinson, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, said the division will boost law-enforcement focus on the myriad of issues affecting the agricultural sector.
It will be based at the JCF's Operations Branch.
Mr. Hutchinson made the disclosure while addressing members of the JCF and farmers at a Praedial Larceny Prevention workshop at the Medallion Hall Hotel in Kingston on Wednesday.
In the meantime, Mr. Hutchinson reiterated that the Ministry of Agriculture is proposing amendments to the Agricultural Produce Act and Praedial Larceny Prevention Act.
The amendments will include a redefinition of the term praedial larceny to incorporate livestock, fisheries, lumber and other classes of agricultural produce, as well increasing the attendant fines to a maximum $3 million or up to five years' imprisonment for persons prosecuted.
Beginning next monh, there are also plans to train 400 agricultural aides to assist extension officers from the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA).
The aides will be recruited from farming communities.
They will work alongside RADA extension officers to register farmers and assist in combatting praedial larceny.