On December 30, 2021, the Trinidad and Tobago Prison Service launched the UNDP-funded Hydroponic Grow Room and Seed Bank at the Women’s Prison. Trinidad and Tobago imports around 85% of its food (IADB 2018), and agriculture contributes around than 1.2% to GDP and employs around than 3% of the total labour force (World Bank 2019). In a bold attempt to address these longstanding challenges, UNDP is pleased to have funded a hydroponic grow room at the Women’s Prison in Arouca as a pilot project with the potential to simultaneously impact food security and reduce prison recidivism.
The project, which was identified for support by our Accelerator Lab’s Green Innovation Challenge held in June 2020, was implemented by Rayanna Boodram of Rainforest Agricultural Consultancy with the full support of Mr. Dennis Pulchan, Commissioner of Prisons and the Ministry of National Security. Beyond outfitting the prison with an indoor grow room and hydroponic system, the project implemented a seedling facility and provided training to 34 female inmates and 6 officers with certification from the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).
UNDP is excited about the potential of boosting food production and providing a valuable skill to inmates so that when they leave the prison they can contribute meaningfully to society.
Credit for Photos: Trinidad and Tobago Prison Service