Prisons Service urged to target hotel industry

CHALI MULENGA, Livingstone
GOVERNMENT has urged the Zambia Prisons Service in Livingstone to identify and grow scarce agricultural produce to supply to the hospitality industry to generate more income.
Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Panji Kaunda said maximising on vegetables and other crops which are not readily available for hotels and lodges in the tourist city will make the service competitive.
Colonel Kaunda told Livingstone Central Prison officer -in-charge Ivor Musumali to also consider going into agreement with hotels and lodges.
He said this when he toured the agriculture section of Livingstone Central Prison recently.
“Livingstone is the tourist capital; you have a lot of hotels and lodges here. You should find out which crop or foodstuffs are in short supply, especially vegetables, so that you can start supplying them.
“You [need to] talk to them because they have some special vegetables that they can buy from you, which the local farmers cannot easily supply,” he said.
Col Kaunda said once the prisons engage in agricultural produce which are rare, they would not only generate more income for themselves but also transfer skills to the prisoners.
“You will be able to generate some [reasonable] income for the prison once you start selling to the hotels and lodges,” he said.
Col Kaunda also urged the service, which has the capacity to feed itself and the community, to grow quality agricultural produce which the buyers could appreciate.
He also encouraged the service to consider acquiring more land to increase production in line with Government’s plans to do away with food suppliers that supply vegetables and other items that it can produce.
“Once food suppliers are paid off their arrears, Government will discontinue engaging them,” he said.
In response, Mr Musumali said the prison would explore the initiative of discussing with the local hotels and lodges.
“The vegetables produced are in most cases sold to the public and the surplus is issued to our inmates for consumption,” he said.

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