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    Sunday, 24 September 2017

    Mutimurefu gets $15 000 drip irrigation equipment


    ANCILLA GOTORE

    MASVINGO RURAL – Mutimurefu, the biggest prison in Masvingo has received $15 000 worth of drip irrigation equipment and a water pump from Batanai HIV and Aids Services Organisation (BHASO).
    The equipment was sourced through funding from Voluntary Service Organisation (VSO).
    The equipment was handed over to the Zimbabwe Prisons Correctional Services deputy commissioner general, Moses Cyril Ngavaite Chihobvu who represented his boss Paradzai Zimondi at a function held at Mutimurefu on Friday last week.
    Speaking in an interview with The Mirror, BHASO director Simbarashe Mahaso said the drip irrigation equipment that will cover three hectares is primarily meant to improve the nutrition of inmates some of whom are desperate for a balanced diet in view of the HIV and Aids pandemic. The prisoners will use the equipment to produce vegetables and other horticultural products for consumption and for sale.
    "The equipment is meant to produce vegetables so that 60% goes towards nutrition and 40% towards income generation. The prisons desperately needs money for medical bills and we also realised that there is need to raise money for transport to be used when prisoners go back home after being released. Prisoners are left in town on release to find their way home. Some of them commit crimes to get money for transport and are rearrested and send back to prison," said Mahaso.
    Apart from the donation, VSO in partnership with BHASO has managed to support about 100 inmates with skills where 99 graduated with certificates in different trades at Mushagashe Training Centre in 2016 and 11 of them have been released and are now full time into their trained trades hence, reducing chances of reoffending.
    Chihobvu hailed the donation during the event.
    "The extension of the drip irrigation facility at Mutimurefu Prison through the provision of additional irrigation lines and pumps has indeed capacitated the station by making it possible to sustainably run the horticultural projects under 15 hectares. Courtesy of VSO, the drip irrigation facility was extended from the initial 3 hectares to 6 hectares; on which the station managed also to add another 2 hectares to make a total of 8 hectares. The station now has the capacity to run some horticultural projects that include vegetables, carrots, onions, tomatoes and cucumbers and green mealies among other horticultural crops," said Chihobvu.
    Chihobvu also praised VSO for supporting several other projects at other prisons like Chikurubi. He said the current donation is a good gesture particularly in that there is a movement away from the culture of direct food assistance to the strategic approach of providing implements and machinery. 
    VSO International Country Director, Andrew Chishakwe said this project was a priority as they had inmates at heart.
    Honourable Minister of Agriculture, Davis Marapira was also present at the handover-takeover ceremony and offered them a sheep to start command livestock.
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