Walter Mswazie Masvingo Correspondent
THE Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) is set to mordernise operations at its Mutimurefu Farm to maximise production, an official said yesterday.
ZPCS Officer Commanding Masvingo Province, Senior Assistant Commissioner Social Ndanga, said the organisation had set sights on increasing agricultural production ten-fold if plans to mechanise were successful.
He said they had started the processes to acquire centre pivots with capacity to irrigate 30 hectares.
Snr Asst Comm Ndanga said they had also been allocated 50 more hectares of farm land under Mwenezi District by Government, a move set to boost food nutrition and self-sustenance at their correctional facilities.
“We have already paid a deposit of $10 000 for the centre pivot and a local bank has offered to clear the balance anytime soon,” Snr Asst Comm Ndanga said.
“The total cost of the mechanised equipment is estimated to be over $300 000 and it can be more because of the inflationary environment.”
Snr Asst Comm Ndanga said with a capacity of 800 inmates, the correctional centre required at least 50 000 tonnes of maize-meal annually and that they also catered for facilities in six other districts.
He said they were operating eight satellite prisons in other districts which consume more than 56 000 tonnes of vegetables per annum, a demand that was overwhelming considering the small piece of agricultural land underutilisation.
“We have 725 inmates at Mutimurefu correctional centre where female offenders constitute less than 15 percent of the population,” said Snr Asst Comm Ndanga.
“These inmates require food daily with all the required nutrients, but sometimes we are found wanting in that area and are hopeful that production will improve at our farm with the aid of mechanised equipment.”
Snr Asst Comm Ndanga said they would also sell surplus produce from the farm to communities, and that they were housing more than 3 000 inmates in all the facilities around Masvingo Province.
He said once the necessary equipment was acquired, the organisation would be able to contribute immensely to the devolution policy enunciated by President Mnangagwa.