dr made.jpgThe erratic supply of electricity and coal has been cited as the major challenge facing tobacco farmers that has contributed to poor output and quality of the crop.


This came out during a tour of Chidziva Estates by cabinet ministers, Dr Joseph Made and Dr Ignatius Chombo.

Dr Made, who is the Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development, said there is urgent need for improvement in the supply of energy to attain maximum yields to realise the gains of the land reform programme.

“As we have seen, the main challenge is electricity supply, at least the supply of coal is improving. The crux is here as this is where losses start to come in, hence the need for improvement,” said Dr Made.

The erratic supply of both coal and electricity is hindering farming operations and expected yield per hectre for the irrigated tobacco crop.

Briefing Dr Made and the Minister of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development, Dr Ignatius Chombo, Mr Sidney Chidziva, the son of Mike Chidziva the owner of the farm, who put 12 hectares of tobacco under irrigation and 30 hectares which is rain fed, said the farm has been using generators for curing tobacco, which is an expensive alternative.

Mr Chidziva said with enough power supply, the crop will yield 3,8 metric tonnes of leaf per hectare.

“This is a good crop and we expect 3,8 metric tonnes per hectare,” Mr Chidziva said.

Electricity generation has affected many farming operations since Zimbabwe and the SADC region began experiencing power deficits.

Local power utility, ZESA, has been under fire for failing to improve power generation despite receiving funds from government.
Irrigated tobacco requires uninterrupted supply of power during the curing process.