Over the past week, we observed that there appeared to be a shortage of mealie-meal in the formal sector with most supermarkets not selling the staple product. Even Food World which tends to be very reliable when finding stocks during shortages was only selling fancy versions of mealie-meal. There were no such shortages in the informal sector as most tuckshops tend to sell in USD. We did however see an increase in the price of roller meal from the usual US$4 per 10kg to US$5.50. Refined meals like Pearlenta and Ngwerewere were selling for as much as US$7 per 10kg. Now it seems prices have gone up too in the formal sector.

Recently the Grain Millers Association announced price hikes across the board:

With effect from Monday 11 April 2022, the price of grain from Grain Marketing Board (GMB) to Millers went up.

Commercial white maize price increased by 50% to ZWD75,000 per metric tonne from ZWD 50,000 per metric tonne.

Wheat rose by 17.8% to ZWD 66,000.00 per metric tonne from ZWD56,000 per metric ton.

These increments are substantial and millers cannot absorb them. At its urgent virtual meeting on yesterday, the GMAZ Secretariat reported the following price movements;

a) 10 kg Roller Meal to increase by 52% to ZWD1, 665.00 from ZWD1,099.00

b) 1 tone of Wheat Bread flour to increase by 31% to ZWD 215,000 from ZWD 164,523 per metric tonne

These price increments are with immediate effect. However, individual millers and wholesale/retailers are free to negotiate price discounts.

The costs of packaging, labour, transport, electricity and imported wheat continue to militate against price stabilization efforts.

We assure the consuming public that our scientific computation model remains reasonable and justified and we have been restrained in our cost accumulation.

The milling industry remains most indebted to the Ministries of Agriculture, Finance and Industry for the ongoing engagements which are aimed at achieving affordability and availability of our products.

The subsisting global food inflation crisis is causing serious headwinds, and Zimbabwe is not spared.

Similar price increases in Maize Meal and Bread flour are also being experienced in other regional countries such as Botswana, South Africa et al.

GMAZ’s statement on the issue

A long time coming

When the war in Ukraine began we saw shocking increases in the price of Diesel and Petrol as the energy global system went into turmoil. We opined back then that there would be real effects on the consumer as fuel is a key ingredient in basically everything in Zimbabwe. This spate of price increases is whiplash from those Petrol and Diesel price hikes. For its part, the government of Zimbabwe has simply offered little relief and continues to collect massive taxes on fuel even in such an environment.

Things can get worse given the lacklustre rain season we just had thanks to global warming. We, unfortunately, expect this year’s harvest to be lower than last year’s. These shortages will probably drive the price of mealie-meal up even in real USD terms. On the ZWL side inflation is bound to keep going up thanks to the factors mentioned above and other local factors such as the rise in the black market exchange rate which is used as a pricing basis by most businesses.