48-hour power outage in Zambia inflicts huge losses for poultry farmers

Poultry farmers in parts of Zambia are reeling from colossal losses following a power outage in at least five provinces that lasted more than 48-hours.

“I lost more than 800 eggs for guinea fowls. It is 48 hours already and there is still no sign of power,” lamented Humphrey Milanzi, one of the scores of poultry farmers in the northern part of Zambia affected by the power outage.

Another poultry farmer in the Northern Province claimed to have lost 600 eggs of free range chickens, popularly known as village chickens in Zambia. The power utility, ZESCO, yesterday informed the public that the company was still trying to repair the damage on the 330 kilovolt cable in Kabwe, about 68 kilometres from the capital Lusaka.

“Our engineers are currently working on the problem, which is expected to be resolved today (yesterday),” said Henry Kapata, spokesperson for the power utility company.

The company attributed the damage to lightning. It left large parts of the country in darkness for more than 48 hours, and added to the woe of poultry farmers who already have to contend with scheduled regular load-shedding for hours on a daily basis. The latest development seemed to have hightened the resolve of industry roleplayers to secure alternative sources of power to mitigate the losses in the industry.

Chileshe Chisanga, also a poultry farmer, advised fellow farmers: “You just need another energy source like solar or genset to survive.”

Legal experts put dampers on the possibility of holding ZESCO liable for the losses noting that the power outage was a so-called Act of God. Furthermore, they observed that a lawsuit will have little chance of success as farmers do not have contracts with ZESCO for unconditional supply

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