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More woes for Zambian farmers with new power blackout

Another power outage affecting seven provinces has piled more woes on farmers. Poultry, dairy farmers and irrigation farmers, households and agro processing plants were particularly hard hit. The country has suffered a similar experience two weeks ago.

ZESCO’s public relations manager – Bessie Banda – confirmed that a system disturbance in Kabwe, Central Province, put out a 330kv transmission line on Monday afternoon.

“This resulted in a loss of supply to Copperbelt, North Western, Northern, Luapula, Muchinga, Eastern and parts of Central province,” Ms Banda said in a statement in Lusaka today.

At the moment power in Northern, Luapula, Muchinga, Eastern and part of Central province remained down. Earlier on Monday afternoon power had been restored to North Western and Copperbelt.

“Power supply will be restored to the remaining five provinces when repair works to the affected equipment are completed,” Ms Bessie added.

A fortnight ago five provinces – Muchinga, Northern, Luapula, Eastern and parts of Central province – were left without power supply for 128 hours. That was after a 330kv transmission line had been hit by lightning at central province’s Serenje, some 68 kilometres from the capital Lusaka.

The situation became so critical that President Lungu had to get involved personally to ensure that supply was restored.

The situation has sparked outrage amongst some farmers taking to social media to vent their frustrations.

“This is another huge loss, coming barely weeks from the earlier losses we had suffered,” said Patrick Chongo a poultry farmer of Ndola.

Others were more scathing of the power utility company: “Can we get competent people to run ZESCO before the economy collapses to its knees?” Brighton Njovu, a dairy farmer tweeted.

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