Load-shedding affecting winter crop, education

WHEAT farmers in Mashonaland Central have expressed concern over the continuous power cuts, which they say are disrupting irrigation, making this winter crop’s production targets unachievable.

BY SIMBARASHE SITHOLE/KENNETH NYANGANI

Speaking at a field day at Zanadu Farm in Concession, last week host farmer, retired Colonel Creden Kanouruka, who presented the farmers grievances to Lands minister Perrence Shiri, said the power cuts were a big blow to production.

“Honourable minister, the farmers are crying foul over the on-going load-shedding. It is hindering our projects and our target of 60 000 hectares this season will not be achievable. May the government put this into consideration, since we need electricity for irrigation purposes,” Kanouruka said.
Kanouruka also said the delay in command agriculture inputs delivery by the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) was also affecting them.

In his response, Shiri said government was making a special arrangements with the Energy ministry to make sure that wheat farmers do not suffer load-shedding.

“We understand the challenge to do with power and we have put a special arrangement with the ministry responsible for Zesa. It has assured us that it is going to make power available for wheat farmers,” Shiri said.

“As government, we have already started to make fuel available for wheat farmers. We are directing GMB to release Presidential inputs to wheat farmers so that they get to start their projects now.”

Shiri also discouraged farmers from seeking payment in United States dollars, saying “if that money goes to the government you should rejoice because the country needs development in health, transport and other sectors so do not be bothered about pocketing it, let it go to government”.

Meanwhile, most schools are failing to undertake crucial computer studies and science practicals due to load-shedding, Sakubva Secondary School deputy headmaster Daniel Makuwerere said while addressing Parliament Portfolio Committee on (ICT), Postal and Courier Services led by acting chairman Trevor Saruwaka in Mutare last week.

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