The Ghana Prisons Service engaged in agricultural activities in its early days, mainly on subsistence level. However, rapid urbanization coupled with the increase in crime rate resulted in rise in inmate numbers that put severe pressure on government’s budget on keeping inmates especially with their feeding requirement.
Matters came to head in 1992 when it became necessary to find alternative ways to address the increasing Government expenditure on prisoners ration. The Agric Unit was therefore revamped to be more productive through the introduction of the Agric Revolving Fund Concept. The Central Government funded the Service Agric Programmes for three (3) years after which the proceeds were retained as capital and revolved for the farming activities. The Government funding ended in 1994 with an amount of GhȻ 19,200 released and paid into the revolving fund.
Aside supplementing Government food supplies, the Agric Unit was also to introduce to the job training programmes to help the inmates acquire basic skills in improve farming methods before their discharge back into the society. It was therefore reguarded as a major tool in the reformation and rehabilitation processes. Currently, inmates are trained in crop and animal production.
- To generate revenue for the service
- To equip Prisons inmates with improved modern and scientific Agric Production Skills
- To produce food crops to supplement inmates ration
- Supplement government expenditure on inmates’ feeding
- To contribute significantly towards food security in the country.
The Prisons Service Agriculture programme is one of the tools of training, reformation and rehabilitation of inmates.
Specifically, it is to:
Train the prisoners in crop and animal production
- Train inmates in improved agricultural practices.
- Generate income.
- Supplement government expenditure on inmates’ feeding.
- Enhance food security in the country.
The Service cultivates over 1,000 acres annually with various crops such as maize, vegetables, and oil palm among others. Livestock production is also undertaken on a much smaller scale. It is worrying that even though the agricultural production in the Ghana Prison Service has appreciably contributed to supplement Government’s ration bill for inmates feeding as well as to equipinmates with farming skills, productivity and total output levels have remained low.
This is due to the following challenges:
- Very low level of mechanization.
- Lack of irrigation equipment.
- Breakdown of over-aged tractors.
- Lack of drying and storage facilities.
- Lack of vehicles to convey officers and inmates to and from the farm.
- Lack of cross-country vehicles for farm inspection visits by Headquarters Agric Unit.
- High sentences of inmates
The low agricultural performance over the years has been a source of grave concern to both the Prison authorities and the Government. Thus, with the increasing prisoner population and high unemployment rate in the country amidst available resources, the Prisons Service intends to participate in a Public Private Partnership (PPP) programme to embark on large scale production of maize and oil palm as well as livestock especially poultry and piggery. The Service, among others, seeks to harness the vast untapped resources available to
the Service at Obuasi, Forifori, Duayaw-Nkwanta, Kpando, Ahinsan and Kenyasi to expand agricultural production in our bid to rehabilitate inmates and equip them with agricultural production skills to enhance their employment and reintegration after discharge from Prison.
To this end the Service intends to embark-on massive mechanization projects. This move is in line with the strategic direction of the Service to modernize the Agricultural and Industrial wings of the Service and make them financially viable. To this end the unit requires the following equipment to engage in large scale agriculture. It is hoped that from the revenue generated, an earning scheme and reintegration funds would be created to support discharged inmates to smoothly settle and re-integrate back into society. Ideally, this would contribute significantly to national security as ex-convicts would direct their energies into productive ventures.
Increased contribution to supplement
Government expenditure on feeding of inmates. More inmates could be trained and re-integrated into society.
Contribute significantly to national food security.
- Setting up the Computer Unit at the Prisons Headquarters
- Constructing of cell block at Awutu Camp prison
- Agric contributes on amount of GHȻ 94,712.15 as rebate towards government expenditure in feeding Prisons inmate.
In 2013, the Agric Unit cultivated a total of 1,191 acres and set a target of 1,323 acres for 2014 production year. The table below shows the target achieved for livestock production for 2013production year and the target set for 2014 production year.