Masvingo (New Ziana) -The Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) is moving to put under irrigation, all the 70 hectares of arable land at its Mutimurefu Prison on the eastern outskirts of Masvingo City, as it strives to become self sufficient in cereals and other nutritional crops for its inmates.
ZPCS provincial spokesperson Assistant Principal Correctional Officer Stanslus Sanike told New Ziana recently that following the installation of a centre pivot on a 30 ha piece of land at the prison, 167 tons of maize had been harvested, while 150 tons of wheat was expected from a crop that is ready for reaping.
Describing the prison as an awakening giant in terms of agricultural production, Sanike said the ZPCS planned to acquire another centre pivot to cover 30 ha at the correctional facility, bringing its entire 70 ha of arable land under irrigation.
At present the correctional facility has 40 ha under irrigation, 30 ha of which is under centre pivot and 10 ha under drip irrigation.
“We are also expecting to have another centre pivot to cover another 30 ha to bring the total arable land under the centre pivot to 60 ha. The prison farm is 280 ha of which 70 ha are arable with 10 already under drip irrigation,” he said.
Sanike said the ZPCS used 80 tons of the 167 ton maize harvest to service its loan with the Agricultural Finance Bank, which it used to purchase the centre pivot, and reserved the remainder for consumption by inmates.
The entire 150 tons of wheat is also expected to go towards servicing of the loan, while value addition would be considered once the necessary equipment for processing the grain has been procured.
While the 87 tons cereals reserved for inmates consumption was insignificant considering that the prison requires about 150 tons of maize grain a year, Sanike said this was the beginning of the journey towards self sufficiency.