via Water, electricity costs choke farmers | The Herald July 20, 2015
Government should intervene urgently to save resettled farmers who are choking from exorbitant prepaid electricity charges, agriculture stakeholders have urged.
Farmers want Government to subsidise water and electricity, arguing that current costs are not sustainable.
The farmers said prepaid electricity was not suitable for agriculture where most crops took more than three months to mature.
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president Mr Wonder Chabikwa said most farmers had quit growing wheat because of the high costs of water and electricity for irrigation.
“There should be a special rate for farmers since we are primary users. Former commercial farmers used to pay less for water since they only paid extraction fees. We are paying $12,48 per megalitre and this is too expensive for agriculture,” said Mr Chabikwa.
“Before dollarisation, farmers paid 45 percent of their electricity charges, but now they pay the full cost. Farmers should be consulted whenever such changes occur because they have an impact on agriculture,” said Mr Chabikwa.
Zimbabwe Farmers Union executive director Mr Paul Zakariya said besides subsidising water and electricity charges, Government should address liquidity challenges in the market, value addition and marketing challenges.
“Power and water charges are high. The situation is made worse by the unavailability of funding. Farmers do not have funding so they cannot get money to pay for water and electricity,” said Mr Zakariya.