The amount of maize meal that the GMB delivers to maize mealers has dropped by almost 40%. This is likely to result in mealie meal shortages in shortages in shops as millers fail to meet demand.

I can confirm that our maize supplies from GMB have been reduced by plus or minus 40% and this means that we will not be able to supply mealie-meal to all retail shops in our sphere of influence, not because we do not have the capacity but simply because we will not be having the raw material (maize) to mill.

We anticipate this move to worst affect Matabeleland region because of its dryness.

Masimba Dzomba, Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) deputy chair

It is not clear whether this is just a temporary setback or if the effects of the 2018-19 drought are finally catching up. Despite knowing that we have maize shortages, the Zimbabwean government hasn’t exactly been very proactive when it comes to averting the disaster. As always they have been relying on the kindness of NGOs, who they sometimes vilify for trying to effect illegal regime change.

Apart from a corruption scandal that saw Zimbabwe importing maize at above-market prices, nothing has been heard from the government concerning maize shortages ever since. Being proactive is not one of their strong suits. For example, they never repaired Hwange or commissioned a new power plant in all the decades we have had since independence.

Fuel shortages hit us by surprise too. So expect them to justify their incompetence as they scurry about like headless bunnies pretending to solve the new crisis. Just to demonstrate lack of forethought at some point GMB considered loaning some of our silos to Zambia because we had excess silos.

Those could have been used to store more maize in anticipation of climate change disasters that are becoming more frequent. Instead, it was another money grab. The money for the leasing, if it ever went ahead, probably never made it into the nation’s coffers, not all of it at least.