————————Plans are underway to establish a milling plant in Petauke district to be run by the Zambia prisons.
This is in view of the fact Petauke district is the highest producer of maize and also that it is centrally located.
Speaking when he paid a courtesy call on Petauke District Commissioner, Velenasi Banda, Zambia Prison Service Senior Assistant Commissioner for Projects, John Yumbe noted that the plans have been on the table for the past three years.
Mr. Yumbe who was in the province in the company of senior officers in the agriculture field said the team was on a feasibility study to check on production of maize in its prisons.
He said the plant will be in private hands for two to three years depending on the agreement to ensure sustainability.
He expressed happiness that the district administration in Petauke was willing to work with his office to secure land to enable it expand its farms.
Mr. Yumbe stated that there is need to increase on hectares of land under the prison service from 470 to 500 for the milling plant to produce 200 tons of mealie meal, translating into 8,000 x 25 kilogrames per day.
He said the prison farms will be equipped with modern farming equipment to ensure consistence in the production of the grain for the plant before it is opened to other farmers.
The equipment includes tractors, planters, combine harvesters and shellars.
He further noted that once the milling plant is in operation finances raised will enable prisons in the region address most of the problems faced and also make the staple food affordable to the people in the region.
Meanwhile Mr. Yumbe has said K17.5 million has been set aside in this year’s budget to address the problem of accommodation and overcrowding faced by prisoners.
And Petauke District Commissioner, Velenasi Banda, stated that her office is ready to work with the prisons to ensure land is sourced for the milling plant.
Ms. Banda noted that Chiefs in the area were approachable as they were ready for development and that land can also be sourced under the local authority.