In our latest survey, we noticed that all the major retail chains have run out of mealie-meal. Not even pricey refined maize meal brands such as Pearlenta, Ngwerewere, and Super Power were available in supermarkets.
Despite reports by millers that they had sourced mealie-meal from South Africa and the Americas there was no mealie-meal in all CBD branches of OK, Choppies, Food World and TM. Shelves which are usually occupied by mealie-meal were unusually clean as there was not a sack in sight.
The few reputable chains that had mealie-meal were selling it for at least $80 and not the gazetted $50. Among the brands being sold included Maworesa, Red Seal and Silo among others. As usual downtown shops and Mbare tuckshops had ample supply of mealie-meal which there were selling at a premium.
10kg of roller-meal was selling for between $4 USD and $4.50. Prices for refined mealie-meal depended on the brand in question. Blue-Ribbon’s Ngwerewere was the cheapest selling for $5 and Pearlenta selling for as much as $7 per 10kg.
Scores of worried and panicked shoppers went from supermarket to supermarket looking for the now elusive staple. All the shoppers we spoke to expressed anger that this was happening at month-end when they do their shopping.
Where are these downtown shops getting the mealie-meal. I have heard that they are working with the formal shops and split the profits. What is the government doing about it. [Gore rino tichafa nenzara vachingoti tine hupfu hwatichakupai]. We are going to starve while they are busy making promises.
One of the downtown lady shopkeepers we spoke to was very unapologetic and boasted that their shop had connections that would allow them to keep getting mealie-meal no matter what happened.
Kana munhu asingade kutenga ngaaregedze anonotenga hwe$50. Endai ikoko tione kuti munonohuwana here. Ini hwangu ndinoda maUS kana mabond ariequivalent. Handisini ndakati zvinhu zviome. Munhu wese anemadhiri ake ini rangu ndere grocery. Ende hupfu ndotoramba ndichihuwana kana mukadaidza mapurisa mangwana ndinenge ndakatovhura ndichetengesa hupfu futi.
[If you don’t want to buy from me then don’t you can go buy your $50 mealie-meal. You will never find anyone selling mealie-meal at that price. If you want to buy from me I want payment in USD or bond note equivalent. It’s not my fault that things are hard. I will be here selling mealie-meal tomorrow no-matter-what.]