DOREEN NAWA, Lusaka
MINISTER of Home Affairs Davies Mwila has urged the Zambia Correctional Service (ZCS) staff to maximise their agricultural productivity to cushion the food challenges in various prisons.
Mr Mwila said Government is aware of the various challenges affecting the correctional service, especially in feeding a high number of inmates.
â€œWe know that providing for close to 20,000 inmates is not an easy task,â€ Mr Mwila said.
He was speaking at the ZCS annual ball at the Zambia National Service (ZNS) officerâ€™s mess in Chamba Valley in Lusaka on Friday.
He urged the service to put more effort in its agricultural and industrial services such as irrigated agriculture. He said irrigated agriculture is vital in the face of frequent droughts and floods that tend to reduce the agriculture output and potential.
Mr Mwila said the service should take advantage of the agricultural machinery to mitigate any food shortages in the country.
However, Mr Mwila said the agricultural and industrial ventures in the service should not be carried out at the expense of its core duty of rehabilitating inmates.
And Mr Mwila said Government is aware of the congestion in correctional facilities and will soon embark on the construction of new facilities countrywide.
And ZCS commissioner-general Percy Chato appealed to Government to increase the staff establishment from the current 2,600 to 6,000 as the staff-inmate ratio is too low to provide adequate monitoring and supervision.
An increase in staff establishment will enable the service to provide an enabling environment for correctional programming and instruction.
Giving an update on the correctional serviceâ€™s agricultural and industrial production, Mr Chato said in 2015, 79, 596 by 50 kilogram bags of maize were produced.
The service is working on an effective developmental path by scaling up agriculture production through commercialisation and mechanisation.
DOREEN NAWA, Lusaka