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You are here: Comments and remarks to Wim Jonker Klunne
The Svinurayi hydro project

"Svinurayi collective Farming Co-operative Society Limited" is a co-operative society with limited liability under section 8 of the co-operative societies act. It was registered on the 30th of November 1982 under number 693. Here the "Svinurayi collective Farming Co-operative Society Limited" will be referred to as the co-operative or the Svinurayi co-operative. On this page the Svinurayi co-operative and its environment will be described in order to analyze the characteristics of the co-operative.

A.  History

Svinurayi co-operative is based on a former commercial farm called Thabanchu in the Cashel Valley, 88 km south of Mutare in the Manicaland Province of Zimbabwe. During the civil war the commercial farmer was forced to leave and sold his farm to the state, which assigned it as a resettlement farm. The first membership of the co-operative consisted of 33 ex-combatants. As they were not geared to run the farm, they all left and were replaced by the present membership which includes former workers of the commercial farm. The co-operative now has 24 members, of which nine are of the female sex, and is affiliated to the Kugutakushanda district union, which forms part of the nation-wide OCCZIM organisation. The co-operative community has a total population of nearly 100 people.

The objectives of the co-operative are:

  • to develop agricultural inputs in the area,
  • improving the living standards of the members,
  • to become self reliant,
  • processing farm produce to finished goods.
B.  Land-use and animals

To reach the co-operative's objectives it can make use of 860 hectares of land, of which 63.5 hectares are arable land.
Twenty hectares of this area are used as a coffee-plantation. Only two hectares are productive for coffee growing as the other 18 hectares are trees too old for giving cherries. For the winter of 1993 a contract with LEMCO obliges the co-operative to grow 5 hectares with peas, 2 ha of green beans and one hectare of onions. For the local market the co-operative uses three hectares to grow sweet beans, 5 hectares for early maize and 0.8 ha for cabbage. For the summer of 1993/94 the co-operative employs, jointly with five other co-operatives in the Kugutakushanda district union, an agriculturist to establish a planting program and the optimum quantity of fertiliser to use. For this purpose this winter soil samples will be taken from the co-operative's land. This will be the first time since the start of Svinurayi co-operative soil
samples are taken.

The co-operative has experience with growing maize, vegetables (beans, peas, rape and cabbage), tomatoes and potatoes which are grown on a rotational basis. Besides the collective land the members of Svinurayi co-operative each
have a so called `garden' in which they can grow their own crops for personal use or to sell on the market. 

The co-operative owns some cattle (two steers and three heifers) which were donated by the NGO `Force'. A program is started by the district union to increase the cattle stock to a four steers and four heifers combination. On the 23th of May this year the Svinurayi co-operative started poultry keeping. At the moment they have just over 200 chicken and the co-operative intends to buy 200 new chicken each month. As it takes them 8 weeks to fatten the chicken for sale, a maximum of 400 chicken at one time will be at the farm.

C.  Organisational analysis

For analyzing the Svinurayi co-operative organisation a distinction can be made between the internal and external environment. The characteristics of both will be combined into a SWOT-matrix to come to some conclusions

1.  Internal environment

The internal environment can be analyzed by using the 7_S model as described in chapter 2. Each `S' will be discussed here shortly.

Structure: the structure of the Svinurayi co-operative is of the functional form. The co-operative's daily affairs are taken care of by a management-committee with seven members. The members of the committee are elected annually by the general meeting of the co-operative. Co-operative members are grouped according to the activity they have to take care of. Svinurayi's co-operative structure lacks clear lines of authority and delegation, as one of the principles of Zimbabwean co-operatives is equal share of power.

Strategy: theoretically strategic plans for the co-operative are made by the management committee, with approval of the general meeting. In practice not much is done on strategic planning. Long term aims are set for by example the coffee growing activities (replanting of all trees), but no timeplanning is made. For other agricultural activities only short term planning exist (the planting program for the coming season). Recently a logbook has been started for hydro-system repairs, which can be used in the future for repair planning.

Systems: with help of ITDG recordkeeping systems were started for income generated with the maize grinding mill as well as maintenance on the hydro-system. Work to be carried out for the co-operative, as work on the fields, bookkeeping, running the grinding mill, etcetera, is planned on a weekly basis and each member is assigned to a job. In the morning a bell is rung as a sign to everyone to start his or her assigned job. In the afternoon the same bell gives the stopping time.

Staff: the members of the Svinurayi co-operative were not selected on their capacities to run a farm but to reach the political goal of resettlement. As the farm buildings and the land the co-operative uses are owned by the Zimbabwean state and individual co-operative members are not responsible for any debt of the co-operative, commitment to the co-operative and the farm is very low, resulting in a not-too-good condition of the buildings. The 24 members of the co-operative (plus wives and children) have enough manpower for the daily activities undertaken.

Skill: the educational level of the co-operative members is rather low, although some members followed courses. A number of the members of the co-operative used to work for the commercial farmer who owned the farm formerly. They have got some experience in the farm work. Management experience of running a farm is totally absent. 
or the hydro-scheme and the coffee growing activities, the co-operative makes use of the skills of outsiders.

Style: Svinurayi is a collective co-operative were all members have an equal vote in the actions undertaken by the organisation. This gives the management committee a very small margin to operate within and to develop a
`management style'.

Superordinate goals are absent at the Svinurayi co-operative due to an inability to make decisions and uncertainties about the future.

The money the co-operative earns is equally divided between the members. With their own garden the members can try to improve their income, although this practice is illegal as the co-operative is a collective one. At the moment no costs are assigned to the use of labour (i.e. labour costs are assumed to be zero, although a rate of $2 per hour is used in the calculations, being a reasonable rate for unskilled labour). The monthly family income co-operative members are relying on is about $ 100. At the moment the co-operative has some money saved at the Post Office Savings Bank, which was generated by the maize grinding mill. As the co-operative doesnot own the farm buildings and do not possess any articles of value, no security can be given to a bank.

The co-operative seems to be interested in the rehabilitation of the micro hydro-power plant and can rely on professional help with it. The same situation applies to the coffee growing activities, were also professional help is offered to the coop.

Members of the co-operative cleaned and repaired the hydro-system under supervision of ITDG-Zimbabwe. For the co-operative it is an advantage that this work was not subcontracted but performed by its members, because in this way a better understanding of the hydro-system was created.

2.  External environment

The ministry responsible for resettlement is at the moment busy overhauling the policy on resettlement schemes, as most resettlement schemes are functioning very well. This makes the future for Svinurayi co-operative unsure, although there are no indications the co-operative might be dissolved y the responsible ministry. The coop gets much attention from the ministry because of the hydro-power developments. As still a large number of people need to be resettled in Zimbabwe the idea of resettlement farms will remain.

Tighter government budgets because of the structural adjustment program can mean a decrease in government help for the co-operative. Higher prices resulting from the adjustment program might have an impact on the co-operative, as do high inflation rates.

The co-operative is located in an area of the country not covered by the national electricity grid and without industrial activities. People mainly rely on agriculture and incomes are low. Not being connected to the electricity grid can mean an opportunity as well as a threat: a threat because it can hamper the uptake of activities in need of power, an opportunity because a market can be in existence (or be created) for private generated power. As not many services are provided to the people, large unexploited markets exist.

3.  SWOT

The internal and external environment analysis can be combined to the following SWOT-matrix

potential internal strengths

experience gained during commercial
farming period

professional help hydro and coffee

low labour costs

potential internal weaknesses

low educational level

no management experience

low commitment

no capital

potential environmental opportunities

attention of the ministry

no electricity grid

large unexploited markets

potential environmental threats

revision of resettlement policy

decrease government help

price increases/high inflation

no electricity grid


4.  Conclusions

The major constraint of the co-operative is the lack of management experience and inability to make decisions.
Large unexploited markets due to the absent of the national electricity grid and the interest shown by the government might created opportunities for the future. 
The present practice of operation needs improvement before environmental opportunities can be exploited.

D.  Svinurayi Hydro-power plant

The micro hydro-power system at the Svinurayi cooperation was installed during the 1930's. It consists of the civil works, a penstock and a powerhouset the farm with the turbine. The turbine is coupled to a 220 Volts direct
current generator and a grinding mill for milling maize. The hydro-power system is fed with water from the Mutengambudzi River (a tributary to the Umvumvumvu River). The water intake is situated 176 metres above the powerhouse level and consists of a low concrete weir, a sluice and a trashrack. After entering the system at the intake the water is conveyed by means of a channel with an approximate length of 650 metres. Near the intake a settling tank is situated. A V-notch on the outlet of this tank can be used to measure the flow of water through the channel. The channel itself is of relatively new construction and runs parallel to the original channel. The channel is made out of bricks and has an average slope of 1 to 9 resulting in high speeds. Despite repairs some minor leakages still occur. Near the forebay tank a small brick diversion tank is situated, which allows water into the adjacent field for irrigation.

The forebay tank itself is about 100 metres above the powerhouse level and is circular with a diameter of 3.65 m with a depth of 1.74 m. There is a short high-level channel connecting the diversion tank with the forebay tank. From the forebay tank water is diverted to two smaller settling tanks which distribute water for domestic supply

The penstock starts at the forebay tank as a twin line with pipes with an outer diameter of 120 mm and after nine metres it joins in a concrete junction to form a single pipe which continues to the turbine. The total length of the line is 412 m. Major leaks in the pipe have been repaired by ITDG using clamp type repair patches, but the pipe is still leaking. The pipe is a cast/ductile iron pipe with lead filled spigot and socket joints. Some joints are leaking and repairs seems to be difficult. 

The turbine is a Pelton wheel manufactured in 1933 by Gilbert Gilkes & Gordon in the UK. The estimated power of the turbine is 10 kW. The turbine bearings were very noisy and were replaced in June this year, but still give problems.

The generator is a direct current unit made by Crompton Parkinson. It is rated at 33 A, 9.5 kV and 1500 rpm. The unit might still be serviceable, but has not been tested by ITDG as a 220 V DC unit is not useful these days. There is a pin and bush type flexible coupling between the turbine and the generator. The generator has a double ended shaft. One end is driven by the turbine, the other is fitted with a V-belt pulley which drives a layshaft running at about 3000 rpm. The layshaft drives the grinding mill by an other step-up V-belt drive.

E.  The hydro rehabilitation 

The grinding mill powered by the hydro-system is a source of income and also provides a facility for maize meal processing for the co-operative itself. It stopped functioning in 1991 due to inadequate supplies of water in combination with severe leakages in the channel and penstock. 

The rehabilitation falls apart in two pieces; a so-called plan A in which the canal was cleaned and the penstock repaired and a plan B with major investments in new equipment. The aim of plan A was to have the hydro-scheme running again, giving the co-operative the opportunity to become familiar with running the grinding mill and hydro-scheme. 

The grinding mill already starts to generate income for the co-operative. To record this income a record keeping system was introduced.  Milling maize at the mill takes about 30 minutes per bucket. Potentially this time can be reduced to about seven minutes. The difference is caused by a reduced power output of the hydro-turbine due to the leakages in the system.
Next to the driving source for the maize mill the hydro-plant can drive a generator able to supply various activities with electrical power.

Extension of the national grid into Cashel valley is planned, but as no money is available at the moment and in the  foreseeable future, no grid connection is expected in the near future. Therefore electrification is a possible use of the hydro-power. This electricity could be used for charging batteries, to electrify the co-operative's shop, school, beerhall and workshop and to drive various activities as a coffee pulpery, sunflower oil expelling and sugarcane crushing. 

F.  Geographical surroundings of Svinurayi co-operative

The farm occupied by the Svinurayi co-operative lies in the Cashel valley, 88 km south of Mutare.  In the surroundings of Svinurayi live about 4215 people divided into the following communities:
Area name
family heads
number of people
Forestry commission
Mutambara reserve
Quaggas Hoek
ZRP Police camp

Beside these communities seven plot holders live in the area with a reasonable amount of arable and irrigatable land.
The three communities nearest to the co-operative, namely the forestry commission, the ZRP Police camp and Quaggas hoek, will be discussed in more detail.

1.  Forestry commission

The Forestry commission is located approximately 2 km down the road (in the direction of the border) from Svinurayi. The Forestry commission has two diesel generator sets which provide the camp 24 hours a day with electricity. The commission owns a large number of rechargeable batteries for their vehicles, communication radios and for lighting. They charge their batteries with their own battery charger.
The vehicles of the commission are serviced by the workshop at the camp. At the main offices of the camp three refrigerators are present which are used to store meat and vaccinations. They slaughter their own cattle. The Forestry commission provides for its employees the services of a beerhall and a grinding mill.

2.  ZRP Police camp

The Zimbabwe Republic Police camp is situated near the Mozambiquean border, three kilometres from Svinurayi. 
The police also owns a diesel generator set but runs it only certain hours a day, mainly for lighting purposes. The set does not generate enough power to run the available refrigerators. The police camp has some rechargeable batteries which are charged with a solar-power charger. When not enough sun is available or the charger is broken down, batteries are charged at the Forestry commission (for free). 
At the police camp a beerhall for employees is operated.
Maize milling facilities are not available at the police camp and mealie-meal is bought from the shops.

3.  Quaggas Hoek

The Quaggas Hoek community is a resettlement scheme relying on agriculture. The community owns a diesel driven grinding mill donated to them one year ago which they run for community members as well as outsiders.
At the mill a shop is operated with a very small assortment of basic items. The distance between Svinurayi and Quaggas Hoek is 3 km.

4.  Conclusions

Because of their distance to the Svinurayi co-operative the three communities discussed above will have great impact on the co-operative. Quaggas Hoek is also a resettlement scheme which likely has to cope with the same kind of problems as Svinurayi co-operative. The Quaggas Hoek community is a competitor of Svinurayi in the field of milling maize, as they also own a grinding mill. Both the ZRP Police camp as the Forestry commission are relatively closed communities with some private facilities. Svinurayi co-operative can benefit from their present in the form of potential customers for services offered.

Click on the links below to see the individual components of the mico hydro scheme in detail.


Cashel Valley
Settling tank
Irrigation diversion
Powerhouse inside
Pelton rotor
Coffee processing


Comments and remarks to Wim Jonker Klunne

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