Recently the government announced a subsidy on roller meal that was meant to bring price down from $100+ down to $50 per 10kg. The government also promised that there would be a Statutory Instrument dealing with these issues today. Well, there is a bit of a problem.

You see most supermarkets seem to have run out of mealie-meal over the weekend. It’s not even clear what happened but all we know is shops had mealie-meal on Friday now a lot of the big law-abiding supermarkets don’t have any. Could it be that prices were reduced as claimed by the government on social media resulting in a buying spree? Or maybe black market dealers saw an opportunity or maybe there is a supply problem.

All we know is if you walk into any of the big four supermarkets today Choppies, FoodWorld, TM and OK you are likely to be greeted with empty spaces. No roller meal or refined maize meal was in sight when we checked yesterday.

Grocery shops are filled to the brim with maize meal but …

Remember the law-abiding part above? Well, Zimbabwe’s shops can be divided into two:

  • The large shops we mentioned above which include the big four as well as other large players Gain, Zapalala, Mahommed Mussa, Spar etc. These accept all forms of payment and generally sell products at gazetted prices
  • Small downtown grocery shops which only accept notes (bond) and foreign currency

More often than not when a product is in short supply in big shops or even missing the small shops have it. In fact, they never seem to run out of anything. In this case, mealie-meal is in plentiful supply at $100 bond! That’s even higher than what supermarkets were charging.