HARARE, August 24, (The Source) – The government should channel more funding in research and investment into sustainable energy sources as electricity costs in Zimbabwe are prohibitive for commercial farming, the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union (ZCFU) has said.
Wonder Chabikwa, the president of ZCFU, told a farmers’ indaba last week that apart from high electricity costs, the power shortages were making farming a risky and expensive investment.
He said by comparison, electricity costs in Zimbabwe were the highest in the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) region.
The cost of electricity in Zimbabwe is 14 cents per kilowatt hour (KWh) compared to Zambia, which costs between three cents and four cents per KWh while the regional average is 5,5 cents per KWh, Chabikwa said.
“Before the adoption of the multi current system, farmers used to enjoy a government subsidy, which is critical for primary production to stimulate growth. They paid 45 percent of the cost of electricity, meaning that in today’s situation a figure of 6, 3 cents KWh would be appropriate,” he said.
Alternatively, the government could remove value added tax and lower the regulation levy, he added.
Chabikwa also noted that Zimbabwe’s fuel was the most expensive in the region. For instance diesel in Zambia, which is a more landlocked country, costs on average $1, 10 against $1, 32 in Zimbabwe.
“We (farmers) recommended more research and investment into sustainable sources such as windmill, solar and biogas,” he said.