Shortly after 20:00 last night, (24/11) power had been restored after a 128-hour power failure that crippled half of Zambia, even though a few isolated areas were still in darkness.
Especially poultry and dairy farmers breathed a sigh of relief, but also role players all the way down the value chain – agricultural processors, retailers, and households in the affected five provinces – Muchinga, Northern, Luapula, Eastern and parts of Central
“Eish!!! Thank God power has returned. It was really getting bad. A few hours more would have been a complete disaster,” farmer Darlington Posta said.
However, there was still no relief for Eastern Province’s Mambwe farmer Alfred Mungwa: “Thanks to ZESCO our brothers have power in Chipata finally but in Mambwe we are still in darkness,” he posted on Facebook.
The power failure left poultry and dairy farmers, agricultural processors and retailers with significant losses, the extent which still has to assessed. Fears are that the incident could undercut government’s efforts to make agriculture the driver of diversified economic growth.
The power utility company, ZESCO, could not supply the media with a list of areas that were still affected. The power failure had become such a serious situation that President Edgar Lungu personally instructed his Energy Minister, David Mabumba, and Presidential Affairs Minister, Freedom Sikazwe, to get on ground to ensure that power was restored by Thursday.
According to Mabumba, the repairs cost ZESCO US$ 1.5 million as the job required an overhaul of the damaged infrastructure in Central’s Kabwe town, 68 kilometres north of Lusaka.