Inmates learn how to irrigate fields with solar energy

Usually, Green People’s Energy Ghana (GBE) subsidises farmers who want to purchase solar-powered pumping and irrigation systems. Sometimes requests come from unexpected quarters. In this case, from Ghana’s Ministry of Prisons. 

Sometimes we can’t plan how our projects will go. And so things happen that we really hadn’t thought of,” says GBE Ghana Project Manager Rafael Wiese with a smile in his voice. A few weeks ago, an employee of the Ghanaian Ministry of Prisons contacted him to invite him to the inauguration of a solar irrigation system that the ministry had purchased from a Ghanaian solar company.

Normally, Ghanaian farmers who buy a solar-powered pumping and irrigation system from one of the five Ghanaian GBE partner companies receive a 40 percent subsidy. The ministry has also secured this.

At the inauguration, Rafael Wiese learned what the prison ministry plans to use the facility for. In the prison near Lake Volta, prisoners will learn how to irrigate fields in agriculture and the techniques they can use to do so. With a solar-powered pump, they save on diesel costs and can grow crops, fruits and vegetables all year round.

We are training them for after their prison sentence so that they have an economic perspective and do not repeat the same mistakes for which they are behind bars today,” explained Akumfi Ameyaw Buanya, executive director of the prison ministry.  “And with God’s help, they will go a better way than before,” Mr Buanya concluded his speech before everyone present joined in a song of praise.