Mealie-meal supplies expected to improve

By ZBC Reporter
MEALIE-MEAL supplies are anticipated to improve as more grain milling companies continue to join the mealie-meal subsidy programme after partnering government in procuring more grain and ensuring adequate supplies of mealie meal.
Having assured the nation that no one will die of hunger, government has roped in more grain millers in its mealie-meal subsidy scheme to ensure that the basic commodity is available at an affordable price.
The Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) and the Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers Association (CZRA) held a meeting in Bulawayo to map out strategies of stopping the subsdised commodity from leaking into the illegal market.
GMAZ Chairperson, Tafadzwa Musarara said the inclusion of more private players in the procurement and distribution of grain will see a huge increase in supply of roller meal.
“Private players have started procuring more grain to assist the government and as we speak the first batch of 50 tonnes is expected in the country by next week,” said Musarara.
CZRA Chairperson, Denford Mutashu spoke on the need for harmony among stakeholders to ensure the success of the mealie-meal subsidy programme.
“If we all cooperate the nation can be food secure and we will be able to fight side marketing which is affecting formal retailers,” said Mutashu.
The meeting agreed that millers should supply the commodity to registered retailers instead of wholesalers to improve accountability.
The government introduced a mealie meal subsidy last year in a move aimed at cushioning the populace from the exorbitant price of mealie meal and under the initiative, mealie meal is supposed to be sold at ZWL$50 per 10 kilogrammes.
However unscrupulous business people are reportedly diverting the subsidized mealie meal to the black market and selling at prices as high as $75 to $110 per 10 kg pack, while 5kg is sold for $55, a 2kg pack costs $15, while 500g costs $9.
Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza last week assured consumers that supplies of the subsidised roller meal will soon improve.
Zimbabwe’s annual maize consumption stands at 1,8 million tonnes and by October last year, the country needed 800 000 tonnes to cover a gap in maize supplies until the next harvest. In September last year the country took delivery of the first batch of the 17 000 tonnes of the 100 000 tonnes of maize imported from Tanzania that Government paid for as part of its efforts to alleviate food shortages brought about by the drought.
The government is also working to have subsidies for at least seven basic commodities to relieve the nation from relentless price increases.