Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Farmers’ water, power tariffs to be reviewed

Farmers’ water, power tariffs to be reviewed

Lovemore Zigara Midlands Correspondent
AN inter-ministerial taskforce will soon be set up to review water and power tariffs to farmers in order to enhance increased productivity, a senior official has said.

This follows complaints by farmers that tariffs being charged by the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) and power utility Zesa were exorbitant to the extent that farmers are failing to break even when they harvest their crops.

Deputy Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister, Davis Marapira said there is a need to make agriculture viable in the country, which he said would incentivise farmers to go back to the field if they get a return on their investment.

“Our local farmers have a problem with water charges as well as electricity tariffs, which are being charged by Zinwa and Zesa respectively. We want our local farmers to be viable because they won’t break even with the current charges,” said Marapira.

“At a time we’re trying to ensure that there’s food security in the country we should ensure that the environment is conducive for the farmers to go back to the field.

We’re going to meet at ministerial level with the Minister of Environment, Water and Climate and the Minister of Energy and Power Development and try to come up with some amicable solutions so that our farmers are viable.”

The proposed review of tariff dovetail the broader economic development measures adopted by the government to enhance domestic growth.

Water and energy are part of the major cost drivers that impinge on industrial growth.

The government has said a downward review of costs coupled with reduction in commodity prices and service charges is necessary for the country to set a good footing for economic recovery.

The chairman of Insukamini Irrigation Scheme, Rodgers Hove accused Zinwa of unrealistic billing, which was suffocating the scheme.

“We’re being made to pay for excess water, which we don’t use by Zinwa and this has had a negative impact on our returns on investment hence some members have resorted to growing crops, which have high returns abandoning crops such as maize,” he said.

Hove said Zinwa does not consider that during the rainy season they do not use a lot of water from the dam to irrigate crops since it will be raining.

Farmers have also complained that electricity charges were eroding their earnings.

Some wheat farmers have reduced hectarage over the past years arguing that they cannot meet the costs of power needed for irrigation equipment at their farms.


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