Maputo, 29 Aug (AIM) – The Mozambican Minister of Justice, Helena Kida, has revealed that the State is spending over 13 million meticais (about 203,000 dollars, at the current exchange rate) a day on feeding prison inmates across the country.
According to the minister, who was speaking to reporters on Monday in the southern district of Marracuene, on the sidelines of the launch of the 58th edition of the Maputo International Trade Fair (FACIM), “based on the inmate population in Mozambique, estimated at around 23,000, the state spends more than 13 million meticais a day on food.”
She said that the cost of food for each prisoner is around 600 meticais a day.
Kida added that the cost of prison food is very high, in comparison with the operating budget for her Ministry.
“The Ministry of Justice doesn’t just deal with the prison population, but has other needs, such as setting up registry offices, expanding legal and judicial training centers, as well as maintaining the functioning of the ministry itself”, Kida explained.
As a way of reducing the deficit, the ministry took to FACIM goods produced in prisons in order to sell them.
“The profits will be used to meet other needs in the sector, including hygiene products for prisoners, a crucial factor in preventing diseases such as cholera”, she said, adding that the ministry sees food production by the prisoners themselves as an opportunity to reduce the pressure of the justice sector on the state budget.
For this reason, according to the justice minister, Mozambican prisons are currently producing various agricultural products, including tomatoes, beans, lettuce and rice. The proceeds from the sale of these goods, are then used to buy other products, such as vegetable oil, needed to feed the prison population.
She added that her Ministry also plans to set up small factories to process agricultural products in the future.