Affordable Agriculture Electricity Tariff to Spur Economic Growth

By Cosmas Kaunga, ESCOM Outreach Officer

Certified and registered farmers will see themselves paying 30 percent lower in electricity bills, as the government has introduced a special agriculture electricity tariff.

Speaking in Lilongwe, Hon. Ibrahim Matola, Minister of Energy, said the agriculture tariff would help spur Malawi’s development as the country’s economy is agro-based.

Matola said this on Friday, November 24 2023, at a sensitisation meeting for district officers on the new tariff.

The Presidential Delivery Unit (PDU) organised the meeting with support from Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAP).

“Agriculture, trade and mining are the cornerstones of Malawi’s economy. And to ensure that the country is a producing and exporting nation, electricity is key,” he said.

Matola said the government seeks to increase power generation to 1,000 MW to support the country’s developmental agenda.

“To be competitive at international markets, Malawi needs to create value-addition to its produce such as coffee, tobacco and groundnuts. Therefore, supported by sustainable goals of ensuring affordability, stability and accessibility of electricity, smart agriculture and mega farms can be tenable,” he said.

Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) Limited Senior Marketing and Business Development Officer, Mr Chifundo Kameko, said the corporation will roll out the agriculture tariff instantly starting off with about 100 customers.

“We are targeting smallholder farmers in the maximum demand customer base consuming not less than 50 Kilovolt-amps,” he said.

Kameko said under the special tariff, ESCOM will need more customers.

He, however, said certification by the ministries of Agriculture, and Trade and Industry is a prerequisite for one to be eligible under this tariff band.

“On our part, all preparations to set this tariff rolling have been concluded and we will now await the Ministries to provide us with the names of the certified farmers,” he said.

Dr Janet Banda, Deputy Secretary to the Office of the President and Cabinet and Head of PDU, said the programme seeks to transform agro-industrialisation in the country.

“In order to realise this, we have to ensure that Malawi Government Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are working together. We facilitate collaboration and coordination among MDAs regarding implementation of the government programmes,” she said.

Banda said there was a need to orient MDAs on the special electricity tariff that ESCOM will now be implementing to ensure that farmers in the agro-business enterprise and irrigation agriculture sectors flourish.

In September this year, Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority approved electricity sector four- year base tariff through ESCOM’s Single Buyer Licensee.

The base tariff will enable the companies in the electricity sector to finance short- to- medium- term investments, operations, maintenance of power infrastructure for improved and sustainable service delivery.

“The base tariff seeks to encourage increased generation and power supply through promotion of efficient and value for money power procurement and new investments in the electricity sector,” the statement reads.

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