THE Zambia Prisons Service is setting up a milling plant in Kabwe to fully add value to maize and other crops produced by inmates throughout the country every year.
The service has already started constructing the plant which will have the capacity of producing 560 tonnes of mealie meal per week.
Zambia Prisons Service public relations officer Doreen Ngoma who confirmed the development said the project was aimed at increased sustainability in the provision of food to the prisoners.
She said the construction of the milling plant which will be called Kalonga Milling in Mukobeko area had reached an advanced stage adding that the necessary equipment had already been mounted.
Ms Ngoma said the plant, which will produce 80 tonnes of maize meal per day, would promote value addition to the maize being produced by various prisons in the country.
"In going forward the Prisons service has decided to construct a milling plant, this will help to supply mealie meal to our prisons in the country unlike the situation now where we wait for the Government to identify a company to supply to us, this will make us self-sustainable and we also want to be adding value to the maize that we produce," she said.
She said the construction of the milling plant was in line with the Zambia Prisons Service commitment to improving its services, value addition and that of self-sustainability.
Speaking in an interview in Lusaka at the just ended 86th Agricultural and Commercial Show, Ms Ngoma said the milling plant was expected to be opened by the end of this year.
She said that a number of officers were attached to other milling companies to learn skills on mealie meal production which they would use once production starts.
Ms Ngoma said the Zambia Prisons Service was in the process of procuring two centre pivots which would enable it to grow and irrigate maize throughout the year so that inmates could have enough food.
She said that the Zambia Prisons Service had continued increasing its maize production hence the need for value addition and diversification.
"This year we have recorded another increase in our harvest, we are expecting 80, 000 by 50 kilograms bags from 60, 000 bags harvested last year. You can see that we have increased our production.
Agriculture has been our second major core concentration from that of being custodians of inmates," she said.