Dec 09, Colombo: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) are working with the Department of Prisons in Sri Lanka to enhance the skills of inmates in modern agriculture practices.
Accordingly, a selection of agricultural land under the Mahara Prison and the Pallansena Youth Correctional Center is being utilized to establish sustainable farming structures. FAO and UNODC are providing technical equipment such as greenhouses, irrigation systems including solar water pump and sprinkler systems, and mushroom cultivation units along with training on sustainable agriculture practices for inmates and officials engaged in agriculture within these prisons.
The officials and inmates will be granted certificates to recognize the skills developed as part of the project and support the inmates’ access to livelihoods in the agriculture sector at the point of reintegration into society.
The Commissioner–General of Prisons, Mr Thusara Upuldeniya describing the added value of the initiative stated “Inmates must be provided opportunities to develop their skills in a meaningful way to ensure successful re-integration into society. The modern farming structures at the correctional facilities will also help strengthen the food security of the inmates. We thank FAO and UNODC for its support.”
Speaking on the initiative FAO Representative for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Mr Vimlendra Sharan stated “As FAO we are committed to encouraging urban agriculture by developing skills and promoting livelihoods in the agriculture sector. The technical knowledge and skills transferred through this project will support the participants by providing expanded employment opportunities in the agriculture sector at the point of reintegration into society.”
Speaking on UNODC’s commitment, UNODC Head of Office a.i., Ms Siri Bjune stated “UNODC’s Global Maritime Crime Programme is committed to further support Sri Lanka Prisons to improve their capacities in managing secure, sustainable and human rights compliant detention facilities, that also promote effective rehabilitation. UNODC would like to see this project contributes toward improved mental and physical well-being of the prisoners and further encourages Sri Lanka to meet international standards in treatment of prisoners and prison facilities.”