The Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs says it is thriving hard to comply with international obligations of inmates standard dietary scale of $3 per day per prisoner despite receiving inadequate funding.

The ministry said it is underfunded with indications that inmates require $28 606 000 for feeding against an allocation of $2.3 million.

Presenting oral evidence in front of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Permanent Secretary in the Justice Ministry Mrs Virginia Mabhiza said the ministry is seized with a challenge in its thrive to uphold, develop and provide accessible efficient and effective justice delivery in the country.

Mrs Mabhiza said the ministry was allocated $21 785 000 in form of an expenditure target but only $12 059 500 was released.

The Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Ministry Permanent Secretary said the current record of 19 000 inmates has resulted in overcrowding in the prisons hence the ministry is trying to ease congestion in prisons.

She said her ministry which services courts and high courts in the country is faced with a dire situation in terms of transporting inmates to an extent that some service providers have withdrawn their services over unsettled debts.

Mrs Mabhiza also said the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services can fully utilise its 637 hectares to produce food for inmates provided they benefit from inputs since they are part of the command agriculture programme.