JIS News

The Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) has been lending extensive support to the Agricultural Development Programme being conducted at the Richmond Adult Correctional Centre in St. Mary. The project, which began in 1994 involves the cultivation of 50 acres of the land on which the Centre is located. It is being operated by the inmates of the institution with the areas of production being pig, chicken, and cattle rearing, as well as vegetable and tree crop cultivation. Under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that was signed last year between the JAS and the Correctional Services Production Company (COSPROD), the JAS has been providing the project with assistance in a number of areas critical to the project’s development. This includes technical support, technical training for the inmates involved in its operation, the provision of tools and equipment needed for the proper functioning of the project and assisting with marketing arrangements for the products. Allan Walker, Chief Executive Officer of COSPROD told JIS News that the assistance being provided by the JAS has been invaluable to the survival and development of the project, particularly after the devastation caused by the passage of Hurricane Ivan in 2004.
Noting that COSPROD’s obligation under the MoU was the provision of land, labour and supervision and a stipend for the inmates working on the project, Mr. Walker said plans were afoot to expand the size of the project from the current 50 acres to 250 acres.
Mr. Walker said it was expected that the inmates would use the knowledge and experience gained from working on the project to establish their own agricultural projects when they returned to their communities. He said also, that the JAS was committed to continuing to provide them with the necessary support to become successful farmers and productive community members. Declaring that the project was operating successfully, Mr. Walker said there was still the need to increase production as the project was not fully able to meet the needs of its market. He said he was confident that with the assistance of the JAS production will not only increase but would also diversify extensively to make it a model for similar ventures in the country.