In our recent survey we noticed with concern how the effects of 2018-19 drought are coming to head. There is such an acute shortage of mealie-meal that not only do most popular large shops have nothing but even the small tuckshops that always seem to have an endless supply seem to be running out with lots of these little shops empty.

A few weeks ago the GMAZ (Grain and Millers Association of Zimbabwe) gave people hope when they said they expected the price of mealie-meal to fall significantly as they had been able to import maize from South Africa and Brazil.

We can reveal with certainty that the promised contingent has not surfaced on the market as promised. Even in those tuckshops we also noticed something. None the maize-meal brands including refined maize are from Zimbabwe. This is imported mealie-meal which is now being sold at premium prices.

Prices double in two weeks

Prices have not fallen as promised instead they have doubled! When the promise was made black market shops were selling maize meal for around $80 RTGS, now the price has doubled. The only shop we saw with mealie-meal was asking selling 10kg sacks for $160 RTGS.

Tuckshops as you probably know turn their noses when it comes to Ecocash. Instead, they were asking for between $110 and $118 bond per 10kg of mealie-meal. USD prices, as usual, were slightly cheaper (in terms of the exchange rate) ranging from $5.50 ( this shop had only one 10kg of Classic Refined remaining) to $5.80.

Business as usual

There have been a lot of rumors as to what is causing the shortages despite promises of imports. Some say the subsidy system has been compromised and hijacked by cartels. The government blames corrupt businesses for being greedy and corrupt. Meanwhile the common man is starving.

There doesn’t seem to be any urgency on the part of the government. It all seems to be business as usual.