HARARE – Southern Cotton Company (SCC) is now considering to go green after experiencing interrupted power supply which resulted in the company failing to run through production processes in good time to meet export orders. SCC is the country’s second largest cotton producer after Cottco.
The country requires about 1 500 MW of electricity to meet daily demand but its currently producing below capacity. To augment local production it imports power from Mozambique and South Africa.
Small to large businesses are turning to solar energy as using generators is not sustainable in the long run given the cost of fuel.
“We have obtained quotations from solar power providers. As a board we have not made a decision yet on whether we should initiate the move or not, because of the level of investment that is required,” said SCC managing director Caos Nzenze.
“It will be difficult for me to put a timeline at this stage. The amount is about US$2 million – we are still looking at the submissions that we have and will be able to make a decision sooner rather than later as to whether we can go green or not.”
As a result of power cuts, the cotton producer has taken six months to finish ginning, a process which should ideally be done at a maximum period of 3 months. This put the company at risk of being slapped with penalties and cancellation of orders by foreign buyers. SCC exports lint to Mauritius, South Africa and Germany, among other markets. Lint prices on the international market are pegged around US$1.40 per kg.
The company has channeled US$5-6 million towards the 2019/2020 cotton production. It has contracted 60 000 hectares of cotton during the production season under review. The company targets to produce 25 000 tonnes of seed cotton.
In 2017, SCC’s seed cotton output stood at 7 000 tonnes before plunging to 5 500 tonnes in 2018 due to drought.