In partnership with the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality, Boksburg Correctional Services (BCS) has added agriculture to the list of training workshops available to prisoners. Other options include carpentry, textile production, steel production, upholstery and baking.
The prison workshops have an annual turnover of R12 million to R14 million and are a key source of skills training and rehabilitation. Roughly 300 prisoners attend them each day. The workshops are accredited by the relevant Skills Education Training Authorities (SETAs) and on average, 200 inmates are awarded certificates at the end of each year. An additional seven to nine inmates become fully qualified artisans.
Setting up training In 2006 Hennie Faber, the manager of production workshops and agriculture at BCS, advanced the idea of starting an agricultural project on vacant correctional services land. While waiting for funds to be made available, BCS installed two boreholes at the site and the University of Tshwane provided free agricultural training workshops to two members of the BCS and 60 inmates.
The BCS has made land totalling 1,5ha available for the prison community to grow vegetables. S peaking at the launch of the project at the end of May, Ekurhuleni’s mayor Duma Nkosi expressed his approval for the project, commenting, “In these times of high food prices, inmates will be able to leave prison at the end of their term and be of use to their communities in terms of producing food.” Correctional services officials expressed the hope that in future, they would be able to obtain assistance from the Department of Agriculture in securing access to land for prisoners leaving the facility after their prison term, who have acquired agricultural skills, training and experience. he next phase of the agricultural project at the BCS will be animal production, covering poultry, pigs and cattle. Land for the poultry enterprise has already been identified – Sharon Götte
A practical day for small farmers
More than 80 farmers attended the sixth annual Practical Small Scale Farmers’ Day at the Grootfontein Agricultural Development Institute in Middelburg in the Eastern Cape. T opics discussed included successful broiler and layer production, efficient handling of sheep, sheep management techniques, inoculation of legume seed and worms in sheep and goats. – Staff reporter Emerging farmers needing more information about these topics can contact the institute’s Bryan King or Phillip Nengwenani on (049) 842 1113 or fax (049) 842 4352.