It has been months since the war in Ukraine came and upended the Zimbabwean economy which was already in turmoil. Prices have since stabilised as shown by our most recent survey results. Mealie-meal, Zimbabwe’s staple, which hit US$9 per 10kg sack back in January is saw its price fall to as low as US$3.50 in October before the price went up to US$4.00 in early November. In the first week of December 2022, we noticed that the price had now gone up again to as high as US$6 for 10kg of the refined meal.

According to our most recent survey:

  • 10kg of Red Seal was going for $5.00 in tuckshops and about $4 800 ZWL in supermarkets
  • 10kg of Impilo, Classic, Ngwerewere and Parleanta super refined were selling for between US$5.30 to US$6 in tuckshops and about $5 300 in supermarkets
  • We noticed that even tuckshops were low on mealie-meal with some even saying there were out. A couple of the OK supermarkets we visited did not have any mealie-meal. One had a couple of Red Seal roller meal. The Gain Cash and Carry shops we visited did not have any mealie meal either.

Which brings us to the question: What is causing the shortage? While it is true that the 2021/2022 season was not great it was not particularly bad either. We have also had whatever we had being augmented by imports from neighbouring countries. While the war in Ukraine is still ongoing most of the effects that were predicted have turned out to be greatly blown out of proportion. Besides, it’s not like Ukraine grows maize that it exports to Zimbabwe. Fuel prices have not been moving that much either. A couple of cents increase certainly does not explain the pattern we are seeing. Our wild guess was maybe the current electricity crisis has disrupted the work of millers who are no longer able to operate at their previous capacity.

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