According to Tafadzwa Musarara the spokesperson for the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ), mealie-meal shortages that we are currently facing are set to ease soon–in 2 or 3 weeks he said.

I am glad we have put mechanisms to have maize into the country. The country’s current demand for commercial (maize) use is 80 000 tonnes and we have signed up close to 100 000 tonnes with the immediate 50 000 starting to come early next week.

GMAZ spokesperson

Apparently the maize is being imported by the millers themselves using free funds. Sources include Brazil and South Africa which probably means that the South African consigment will arriver sooner.

What is not clear however is whether the resulting mealie-meal will be still sold at the subsidised price of $50 per 10kg as is the current case or there will be a price adjustment of some sort. At the moment subsidised mealie-meal is rarer than a hen’s teeth and whenever a batch arrives in shops it quickly dissappears most of it to the black market.

GMAZ has said that “professional buyers” are to blame for all this. Whenever there is a consignment people who are jobless queue up and make a purchase with the hope that they can resell at a higher value.

We are worried with the extent of our products especially here in Bulawayo which is being sold on the black market. We know the products can leak either in the millers’ place or retailers’ place and then we now have professional buyers who just go and queue for everything, who buy the mealie meal and go and sell it.

GMAZ on the black market

They have a killer strategy in place

Their strategy to deal with this rising black market is to flood the market with cheap mealie-meal such that black market operators loose the profit incentive. This is the right way to go about it. Instead of wasting money on monitors.

However, early on in the strategy people will still mop up the excess supply as psychologically they will still be operating under the assumption that there will be a shortage. This means large amounts have to be supplied in early days before easing supply as it becomes clear that there is no shortage.