Prison farm rears goats to feed hospital patients

The Chronicle

Yoliswa Dube-Moyo, Mat South Bureau Chief
GWANDA Prison Farm has partnered the National Aids Council in a goat breeding project meant to benefit people living with HIV/Aids in Matabeleland South Province.

The goats, whose meat is a rich source of protein, will be supplied to Gwanda Provincial Hospital as part of efforts to provide patients with a balanced diet.

Nac donated goats ZPCS after noting the food challenges at the hospital and the capacity of the correctional service to undertake the farming project.

Gwanda Prison farm manager Assistant Principal Correctional Officer Sethukile Ndlovu said the farm had embarked on a goat breeding project with the goal of supplying Gwanda Provincial Hospital with goat meat as well as provide inmates with their meat ration.

“These goats belong to the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service together with the National Aids Council.

Our main purpose with these goats is to give inmates their meat ration and once we reach our target, we want to start supplying the hospital so that people living with HIV/Aids and other patients can get a good source of protein,” she said.

Assistant Principal Correctional Officer Ndlovu said the prison farm was working towards reaching a target of 500 goats before they can start supplying the hospital.

The prison farm currently has 165 goats.

“The reason why we haven’t reached our target yet is because we’ve taken some of the goats to seed our surrounding prisons.

We’ve given Beitbridge Prison 26, Khami Maximum Prison 31, Whawha Prison 14 and 10 have gone to Matabeleland North Province,” said Assistant Principal Correctional Officer Ndlovu.

She said the goat project in Matabeleland South Province was doing well and inmates can easily learn how to breed them.

“We want our inmates to know everything about goat production including fostering after kidding, supplementary feeding, how to nurse them when they are sick as well as how to cull an unproductive goat.

We’re also teaching the inmates how to wean the kids,” she added.

Gwanda Prison Farm is located about seven kilometres south of Gwanda town along the Gwanda-Beitbridge highway and is running a thriving agricultural project comprising crop and livestock production.

The produce, which is wholly tended by the prison inmates is meant for their daily rations while Gwanda Provincial Hospital gets vegetables from the farm.

The surplus is sold to local communities.

The agricultural project is part of efforts to rehabilitate inmates and empower them for life after prison so that they do not become repeat offenders.

A portion of the farm has been used to cultivate maize under pfumvudza/intwasa, a crop production intensification approach under which farmers ensure the efficient use of inputs and labour on a small area of land in order to optimise its management.

Gwanda Prison Farm is also a beneficiary of Command Agriculture, an agricultural scheme aimed at ensuring food self-sufficiency that was introduced at the start of 2016.– @Yolisswa

Article Source: The Chronicle

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