Khami Prison Farm has reportedly increased production to provide food for Bulawayo Metropolitan’s 5 prisons, the Chronicle reports. According to the publication, the farm has 252 cattle of which 56 are dairy cows, 93 Boer goats, 102 pigs, 100 rabbits and nine horses, and the prisons utilise 70% of their produce and 30% goes to the market where it is sold to Bulawayo and surrounding communities.
The matter came to light when Farm projects manager, Assistant Principal Correctional Officer Charles Chitumbura spoke to the publication and said:
We have also planted cotton and sorghum under the Presidential Input Scheme. We also do wheat production under Command Agriculture and currently we have put three hectares under winter wheat.
We partnered Voluntary Service Overseas, a Swiss organisation in the project and they funded our water works infrastructure in the form of irrigation equipment.
We are also into the 100-day cycle of the food enhancement programme. It is a Government initiative to reinvigorate performances in the public sector and maximise on production.
On the rehabilitative aspect, we impart good agricultural practices to our inmates so that they successfully reintegrate into the society upon release and reduce unemployment, recidivism and at the same time it will help them to be law abiding citizens.
For instance, if it is mealie-meal, green vegetables and tomatoes we feed the inmates with 200 grams per meal for a single ration. If it is double ration, we give them 300 grammes per inmate and also supply 30 to 40 tonnes of meat to our inmates to meet the protein requirement
We also have challenges which include high production costs, climate change brings new pests and diseases, power outages especially in winter affect our operations, especially in terms of fertilisation during winter production. We also have an issue of inorganic fertilisers and we have therefore adopted an integrated soil fertility management system and this means whatever garbage we get from horticultural or food crops, we feed to our livestock
We also get manure from our livestock and do some compost and integrate the use of organic and inorganic fertilisers. Feed is one of the major cost drivers and we have adopted a least cost combination and we buy stale bread and cereal grain at Delta Beverages at low cost and we then mix it with concentrates and feed the pigs.