RUNDU - Northern Regional Electricity Distributor (Nored) has once again cut off electricity to government irrigation projects Shadikongoro and Ndonga Linena in Kavango East Region due to arrears.
Shadikongoro is located in Mukwe Constituency while Ndonga Linena is in the Ndonga Linena Constituency.
Since Tuesday morning, the two projects have been unable to irrigate their crops as their electric-powered irrigation pumps are down.
“Yes, Nored has cut off electricity supply to two irrigation projects due to arrears. We cannot reveal how much they owe as this is a confidential matter between us and our customers, the affected irrigation projects,” said Lukas Simon, Head of Corporate Communications and Marketing at Nored.
Simon told New Era that power will only be restored as soon as the arrears are settled or an agreement on how the two projects will settle their ballooning accounts is reached.
AgriBusDev Managing Director Petrus Uugwanga, whose company oversees the green scheme operations, said they are working around the clock to ensure that power is restored for business to be back to normal as soon as they can.
“It’s because the grains we produce are not bought yet, and we have not been paid by our buyers for our grains that we have produced and supplied this year. For that reason we are now faced with a serious cash flow challenge. We are in that dilemma, government and AMTA are not buying this year,” Uugwanga said.
“The truth is that our cash flow is not good, especially that our grains are not yet paid for,” the MD said.
The then agriculture minister John Mutorwa at some point in 2016 suggested that AgriBusDev should do a study at all government green schemes on the use of solar power to cut cost on the high cost of electricity at these projects.
Mutorwa said that the study will then inform the ministry and AgriBusDev what operations can use Nored electricity and which one are to be powered through solar energy.
Uugwanga says they are on track in regard to securing solar power for the green schemes.
“We have made progress, we have a plan and budget provisions to consider putting some of our pump stations on solar, that’s in our current budget and our engineers are working on the designs, it’s just that I have not spoken to our engineers today to be able to give you the exact progress on how far we have gone,” Uugwanga noted.