The Sunday News
Sukoluhle Ndlovu, Midlands Correspondent
THE long hours of power cuts being implemented by Zesa has hit hard on the country’s winter wheat farming with yields now expected to drastically go down.
Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Douglas Karoro said winter wheat farmers have complained that their farming operations were now being disrupted by load shedding.
Speaking after touring irrigation schemes in Vungu last week, Deputy Minister Karoro said power outages have affected irrigation of the winter wheat.
“Winter wheat farmers are facing challenges due to power deficit. Most winter wheat farmers rely on irrigation therefore they need power to irrigate their crops.
Their irrigation programmes have been adversely affected.
“We have made arrangements for farmers’ unions to meet officials from the Ministry of Energy and Power Development to discuss how best the issue can be solved,” he said.
Deputy Minister Karoro said his ministry is negotiating for farmers to get at least four days per week of continuous power supply.
“We are asking the Energy Ministry to make sure that farmers have up to four days of uninterrupted electricity per week. We are hopeful that this will materialise as His Excellency President Mnangagwa recently sealed electricity deals with South Africa and Mozambique,” he said.
Zimbabwe is experiencing massive power cuts as generation capacity has drastically gone down especially at Kariba Power Station due to reduced water levels.
Kariba is producing 358 megawatts per day from 542MW average, while Hwange Thermal Station is generating about 500MW from a 900MW installed capacity.
The country is also facing wheat shortages, a situation that has seen bread prices to continue going up.