RUNDU - Small-scale farmers at the government-run Ndonga Linena irrigation project in Kavango East stand to lose substantial losses from their maize crop that has started wilting because it cannot be irrigated after the power supplier - Nored - cut off power at the project over a N$3 million debt.
The irony is that Ndonga Linena has surplus maize of N$7 million that it does not have a market for, putting it in a predicament also facing other Namibian cash crop farmers who have in the past lamented the fact they usually do not have a market for tomatoes, onions, green peppers, among other produce, which is despite the fact South African farmers have a ready market for these products in Namibia.
A week ago Nored switched off power at Ndonga Linena, putting small-scale farmers under siege as they stand to incur massive financial losses from the maize crop that has wilted. Nored had also swung the axe on Shadikongoro over a N$692 000 debt and it only restored power at Shadikongoro last Friday after its panic-stricken managers scampered around and raised N$500 000 that they paid, and made arrangements to redeem the outstanding N$192 000, but Ndonga Linena has yet to pay a single cent over its N$3 million debt to Nored.
Lukas Simon, Head of Corporate Communications and Marketing at Nored, told New Era last week that power will only be restored as soon as the arrears are settled or an agreement on how the project will settle their ballooning accounts is reached.
The power cut has affected 25 small-scale farmers, as the commercial section of the farm with 37 workers, on which government though AgriBusDev farms, has not planted anything at the moment.
“We don’t have money to pay, we have an outstanding debt of about N$3 million. We normally put production on the 700 hectares but we have not even planted 10 hectares. Currently it is only the small-scale farmers that have some hectares under irrigation,” the manager of Ndonga Linena irrigation project, Titus Andrias, said on Tuesday.
Andrias said they are still busy making an assessment to quantify the financial losses.
The electricity cost is shared between the commercial and small-scale farmers at the project.
“Due to the fact that there is no market for maize we are unable to sell the maize to be able to pay our debt – we are having a lot of grain at the farm which is valued up to N$7 million but there is no market for it,” Andrias bemoaned.
2018-10-03 09:07:10 5 months ago