It appears cooking oil is in short supply again. During our latest survey which was concluded this afternoon, we could not find the popular and familiar 2l cooking oil bottles on most of the supermarkets we visited.

In fact of all the various branches we visited covering OK, Choppies, Pick N Pay (TM) and FoodWorld, only the FoodWorld and 2l cooking oil bottles in all its branches. They had Raha and ZIMGold with the former being the cheapest at $43.80 ZWL. To be clear we visited multiple branches for each of the named shops.

The popular wholesale shop Mahommed Mussa also had various brands of cooking oil, mostly imported, with a 2l bottle going for $45.00 and 5-litre bottles going for just under $100.

The cooking oil industry is on the brink

According to Oil Expressers Association of Zimbabwe (OEAZ) president Busisa Moyo the cooking oil industry has been operating at around 30% capacity since the beginning of the year due to a host of challenges that they are facing. He also said the industry is on the brink of collapse and called upon the RBZ to intervene.

Averagely, our members are operating at 20 per cent since the beginning of the year due to viability challenges. Some have shut down; others are considering cutting working hours and outright retrenchments due to the indications of deterioration.

If there is no improvement or urgent intervention by monetary authorities or Treasury in the next 30 days the sector and value chains developed thus far like the cotton clothing, soya bean to white meats and basic commodities will be significantly damaged or destroyed.

Busisa Moyo OEAZ

Cash retailers capitalise

Downtown and Mbare retailers have been quick to seize on the opportunity to make a quick buck. Street vendors who seem to have an endless supply are now asking for as much as $38 bond or $2.50 USD per 2l bottle.