WINDHOEK – Agribusdev MD Petrus Uugwanga who oversees the green scheme operations has revealed that the tender to install a solar system at Etunda, Sikondo, Hardap, Shadikongoro and Uhvungu-vhungu will soon be awarded.
He said the tendering was closed on April 2 and they are now in the last consultative process with their principal and shareholder before awarding the tender.
This comes after nearly a year after Uugwanga revealed that government green schemes will soon cut out from their operations the high energy tariffs of the Northern Regions Electricity Distributor (Nored) as they plan to install solar power at all irrigation projects.
The idea was first mooted by the former minister of agriculture, water and forestry John Mutorwa, who directed Agribusdev to thus reduce its costs during a visit to the government-owned Shadi irrigation project in Mukwe Constituency in Kavango East in June 2016.
Last month, Nored disconnected power supplies to five green schemes in the Kavango and Zambezi regions due to electricity non-payments.
In an attempt to restore full production at five green schemes, the government promptly intervened and settled about N$3 million owed by these farms to Nored.
The defaulting green schemes in both Kavango and Zambezi regions included Sikondo, Shandikongoro, Musese small scale, Uhvungu-Vhungu, Ndonga and Kalimbeza.
Uugwanga said the public should take note that under this phase they are targeting to put solar on the pump station and other huge cost drivers on the farms.
“This entails that the need for power from Nored would not be eliminated but would rather reduce. The Nored power would still be needed, mind you, as we also irrigate during the night,” he noted.
Asked how much is the tender worth, Uugwanga explained that it is difficult to estimate because it depends on the size of the pump and location. He said he was hesitant to mention the figures while the tender was in the adjudication phase.
He said Nored would still be their strategic partner and the solar intervention should be seen as mechanisms to improve Agribusdev’s business operational efficiency, adding that this is just one of the interventions.
Another intervention he mentioned that Agribusdev has started upon is the installation of variable speed drive to regulate the speed of the motors at the pumps to run proportional to the volume of water required for irrigation.
Thus far, he explained, the variable speed drive has been installed at Etunda and at a small scale farmers’ booster pump at Shadikongoro.
“Thus far we are happy with the preliminary results that we have recorded after the installation in October 2018,” he said.
Moreover, he indicated that substantial power reduction was achieved by downgrading the circuit breaker at Rundu Agricultural Technology Centre, Kalimbeza rice project and they are currently carrying out a similar exercise at Musese’s small scale component.
According to Uugwanga, as resources become available, they will continue to correct the inefficiency in the system.
He said this year they intend to install variable speed drive at Shadikongoro’s commercial component.
2019-06-06 09:15:29 18 days ago