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Prison irrigation project flops

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The ambitious irrigation farming project that the Malawi Prisons Service was undertaking at Chichiri Prison in Blantyre has failed.

The Daily Times team that visited the project site last week saw that the maize crop was being cleared immaturely preparing the field for planting in November in rain-fed agriculture.

The project has failed despite attracting the attention of all and sundry in town and getting support from different stakeholders that pumped resources into it.

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Monsato Malawi intervened by giving the prison free seeds and other resources to ensure the project is successful.

National Prisons Spokesperson, Smart Maliro, said intermittent power supply has affected water supply for irrigation leading to drying up of the maize in some areas of the garden.

“Low water levels have also affected the pumping of water up the tanks and down to the plants. The plants that failed to reach maturity stage will be put to good use by being used as feed for the service cattle in some prisons in the Eastern Region,” Maliro said.

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However, Maliro was quick to mention that the prison is set to plant rain-fed maize at the site to ensure continued and adequate food provision at the prison throughout the year.

“The maize that was planted close to the river behind the prison is doing well and it has neared maturity and this will enable the station to realise a better part of its goals,” Maliro said.

The project was regarded as one of the timely interventions to ensure that the prisons service is able to provide for its food throughout the year.

Malawi’s prisons are highly congested making provision of food a big challenge.

The service embarked on promotion of irrigation in all its prisons in the country as part of the public reforms that the government is undertaking to ensure that its departments are effective and productive.

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