Categorized | News, Regional

Company looks to drones to deal with praedial larceny

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Aug 19, CMC – A major manufacturer here says it is exploring the use of drones to combat praedial larceny.

JP Tropical Foods Limited said that it has losses an estimated J$40 million (One Jamaica dollar =US$0.008 cents) annually due to farm theft.

dronesThe company’s general manager for its commercial division, Neil Crum-Ewing, said the objective is to introduce the drones by year-end, following successful negotiations with the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA).

“We have tested the use of drones for surveillance and applying fertiliser and pesticides and found it to be effective. That has been going very well,” he noted.

He told that JP Farms, the manufacturers of the popular St. Mary’s Banana Chips, is also looking at introducing video surveillance in the fields.

“We always had video surveillance for our processing facilities but now we want to get it in the fields and have a central monitoring body that is actively seeing what is happening,” he said, noting that due to praedial larceny, security has become one of the company’s highest operating costs.

He said this affects the price customers pay for products and impacts the company’s ability to expand its operations and employ more people.

“A banana is very affordable… but security is a significant part of what you pay for a banana. Also, the higher the… revenue loss, the more costly it is to expand your operations, and expansion brings employment opportunities. If you have praedial larceny and it is a high cost to your operation, then you do not have that capital to hire more people,” he explained.

Crum-Ewing that coconut accounts for most of the company’s loss due to praedial larceny, with banana responsible for five per cent.

“We have 200 acres of coconut and we do not get the production from the crop as we should,” he said, adding that the company will be engaging surrounding communities in the effort to reduce farm theft.

“This goes back to community involvement, outreach programmes and engaging communities to remind them… of what we are doing and that it will benefit them in terms of employment,” he explained.

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KINGSTON, Jamaica, Aug 19, CMC – A major manufacturer here says it is exploring the use of drones to combat praedial larceny.

JP Tropical Foods Limited said that it has losses an estimated J$40 million (One Jamaica dollar =US$0.008 cents) annually due to farm theft.

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dronesThe company’s general manager for its commercial division, Neil Crum-Ewing, said the objective is to introduce the drones by year-end, following successful negotiations with the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA).

“We have tested the use of drones for surveillance and applying fertiliser and pesticides and found it to be effective. That has been going very well,” he noted.

He told that JP Farms, the manufacturers of the popular St. Mary’s Banana Chips, is also looking at introducing video surveillance in the fields.

“We always had video surveillance for our processing facilities but now we want to get it in the fields and have a central monitoring body that is actively seeing what is happening,” he said, noting that due to praedial larceny, security has become one of the company’s highest operating costs.

He said this affects the price customers pay for products and impacts the company’s ability to expand its operations and employ more people.

“A banana is very affordable… but security is a significant part of what you pay for a banana. Also, the higher the… revenue loss, the more costly it is to expand your operations, and expansion brings employment opportunities. If you have praedial larceny and it is a high cost to your operation, then you do not have that capital to hire more people,” he explained.

Crum-Ewing that coconut accounts for most of the company’s loss due to praedial larceny, with banana responsible for five per cent.

“We have 200 acres of coconut and we do not get the production from the crop as we should,” he said, adding that the company will be engaging surrounding communities in the effort to reduce farm theft.

“This goes back to community involvement, outreach programmes and engaging communities to remind them… of what we are doing and that it will benefit them in terms of employment,” he explained.