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Bread Shortages Looming as Power Outages Cripple Zimbabwe Wheat Crop

Power outages have affected wheat production in Zimbabwe.
Power outages have affected wheat production in Zimbabwe.

Bread shortages are looming in Zimbabwe as the Ministry of Agriculture and Mechanization says power outages have crippled the farming sector resulting in low wheat production.

Speaking at a meeting held in the capital Tuesday for farmers and representatives of the energy and agriculture ministries, the ministry’s director of mechanization, Rabson Gumbo, said wheat production is currently down to 12 percent because of lack of adequate electricity.

As a result, Gumbo told the meeting that Zimbabwe is now importing wheat in order to meet local demand.

But Patson Mbiriri, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Power Development, told the meeting that most consumers are not paying their debts to the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority resulting in the power utility failing to generate enough power for the whole country.

Mbiriri said consumers owe the power over $1 billion.

He added that the power outages that are currently being experienced in some parts of the country are a result of a surge on the Zambian grid.

The official said power generation in Zimbabwe is also being affected by obsolete equipment at most thermal stations.

Some agricultural experts and economists say the shortage of wheat in the country may result in a nationwide shortage of bread and an increase in the price of the commodity.