The 2020 National Young Champion Farmer Award winner, Pardon Mhuri, has said incessant power cuts threatened his yields. He told The Standard that he has turned to solar energy to continue operating.
Mhuri began the farming enterprise in 2013 with two hectares of tobacco at his farm in Karoi Mashonaland West province.
The Standard reports that the farmer now is farming on 863 hectares, growing sugar beans, wheat and vegetables in addition to tobacco. He told the publication:
We rely heavily on electricity on the farm.
For over a decade, the country has been facing an electricity challenge, so I have to install a powerful solar system.
Over the past few years, Zimbabwe has been experiencing a massive power deficit with Energy and Power Development minister Zhemu Soda last month warning that the country might endure rolling power cuts beyond August due to depressed generation capacity.
Soda said the government was making frantic efforts to ease the power cuts through imports and rehabilitation of the Hwange Thermal Power Station.
Zimbabwe requires 2 000 megawatts (MW) of electricity monthly to meet power demand and 50MW from Mozambique’s Hydro Cahora Bassa and 400MW from South Africa are still inadequate to close the supply gap.
Energy expert Koen van Kuijk said the fact that Zimbabwe has an average annual of 8.3 sun hours per day makes the country suitable for solar energy.
ZESA says there were plenty of independent power producers that were expected to start their various projects and add to the national grid.