As part of measures to revamp the agricultural sector of the Ghana Prisons Service to increase food production and to generate income to supplement government’s budgetary allocation, the Service has procured five tractors, four planters and ploughs from the Ministry of Agriculture through the assistance of the Ministry of Interior.
In a short consecration and handing over ceremony at the Prisons Headquarters at Cantonments in Accra, the Acting Director-General of Prisons (DGP) Mr. Patrick Darko Missah, handed over the keys of the equipment to the Officer in Charge of the Duayaw Nkwanta Settlement Camp Prison, Assistant Director of Prisons (ADP) John Asiedu Benaye to mark the beginning of the realization of the vision of modernizing Prisons agriculture.
The Director of Prisons in charge of Operations and Agriculture, Mr. Sylvester KB Rabbles, in a short speech thanked the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Interior for facilitating the procurement of the machinery and said, ‘the equipment procured will go a long way to enable the Service contribute its quota to the government’s initiative of Planting for Food and Jobs’, as well as improve upon inmates’ ration and to generate income’.
He however called for more support from the Agricultural Ministry in terms of farm inputs and other machinery to intensify the revamping exercise nationwide.
The exercise is meant to infuse machinery, improved seeds, fertilizers and to expand storage facilities among others to enhance the net value of Prisons agriculture from the current GHȻ2.2 million to about GHȻ6.6 million in the next five years.
It is expected to help reduce government’s expenditure on prisoners’ feeding which runs in excess of GHȻ10 million annually and also support the Prisons’ rehabilitation programme by getting more prisoners trained in modern agricultural activities to enhance their earning scheme as well as make them employable after release from prison.
Ghana Prisons Service has nineteen (19) farm stations across the country. They engage in the cultivation of cereals, vegetables, oil palm, teak, acasia, cocoa, coffee, mango, citrus, and cowpea. They also engage in the rearing of livestock such as cattle, goats, sheep, pigs, grass cutters, poultry, and rabbits.
Prisons agriculture started when prisoner population grew beyond acceptable levels and there was the need to feed inmates in the face of inadequate budgetary allocation. This brought about the setting up of farm camps, and between the periods of 1992 and 1994 an Agricultural Revolving Fund was introduced with seed money of GHȻ19, 200. 00 to produce food to feed inmates. This fund has grown to a current figure of GHȻ2.2 million.