JIS News

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed between the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) and the Correctional Services Production Company (COSPROD), for the formation of an alliance, to allow for the expansion of agriculture within the correctional centres, beginning with Richmond Farm.
The alliance will see the JAS providing technical services in the form of seeds, tools and training for an initial 250 inmates, which will assist in the rehabilitation process.
Senator Norman Grant, President of the JAS who addressed the signing ceremony in downtown Kingston today (September 9), said both organizations were cognizant that an active partnership was pivotal to assist in the reduction of crime and an increase in agricultural production.
“There is urgent need for improved collaborative approach in addressing the various issues affecting both institutions,” he said.
Under the MOU, COSPROD and the JAS will collaborate in the design and development of technical assistance programmes relevant to the needs of the members of both organizations. Both groups will also provide opportunities to directly promote the social and economic development of the inmates of the adult correctional centres.
The JAS will market the excess produce from the centres through its central marketing system. Also under the MOU, the Correctional Services will provide monetary compensation to the inmates who are engaged in the project.
According to Senator Grant, this would help the process of rehabilitation, so that when the inmates are released, they could become involved in the agricultural sector and be productive members of their communities.
He noted that there were parcels of land to be divested, so when the inmates are released they could apply and if successful, they could become farmers or business persons. “This will help to ensure that they don’t go back into those institutions,” he said.
Meanwhile, Major Charles Rodriquez, Chairman of COSPROD, outlined the work, which the organization is doing inside the institutions. He cited the Tower Street Correctional Centre, where some seven acres of land are used for farming, offering training in vegetable production, poultry rearing, block making, furniture manufacturing and joinery.
At Tamarind Farm, he said there were approximately 150 acres of land being used to offer training in crop production, such as vegetable, ackee, mango and other orchard crops; poultry and animal husbandry.