Zimbabwe: Power Outages Threaten Dairibord

Dairibord Zimbabwe Holdings has been hit hard by the nationwide power outages, forcing the company to resort to diesel-powered generators which has proven costly to the locally-listed firm, businessdigest has learnt.

Power utility Zesa Holdings has introduced a massive daily 17-hour load-shedding programme brought about by several challenges which include foreign currency shortages, a breakdown of equipment , unpaid debt and severe reduction of water levels at Lake Kariba.

The power outages have crippled business, resulting in lost production, with companies forced to reduce working hours.

Dairibord CE Antony Mandiwanza told businessdigest on Wednesday the company needs reliable electricity supply to avoid the risk of losing perishable food, milk and beverage products.

"Load-shedding is a national issue and in our instance we process live products which is raw milk and you need to have a reliable electricity supply to process the products without delay. If you delay, you lose the product that is fundamental and this is not peculiar to Dairibord, it is happening with everyone else."

Mandiwanza said the company's factories are now being supported by constantly switching on the generators.

"As I'm speaking to you, at our factory in Chitungwiza we are running on diesel and at our Harare factory we run partially on diesel and on electricity and the same applies for Chipinge. Those are the common problems which we are facing," Mandiwanza said.

He said he hopes the short, medium and long-term solutions by government including investing in renewable energy will come to fruition.

During a breakfast meeting held in Harare on Monday, Mandiwanza revealed that a Zesa official had visited Dairibord offices to notify them that they were going to have their power cut for seven hours.

During the same meeting, Zesa acting CE Patrick Chivaura blamed the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe for recent power shortages, saying the central bank has not given the power station foreign currency needed to import power since October last year.

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