Millers await governments’ nod to increase mealie meal price

By ZBC Reporter
GRAIN Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) has said they are waiting for the government to announce the revised subsidy price for mealie meal so they can begin supplying the market with both locally acquired and imported mealie meal which they have in stock.
Speaking on the sidelines of a stakeholders meeting in Harare, GMAZ president, Tafadzwa Musarara said the price for subsidised mealie meal is set to go up anytime.
“We are waiting for the Ministry of Finance to announce the new subsidy price for mealie meal. We have done all the submissions to the government. We have stocks which we have milled from imported maize but with the current price, we cannot sell. We have agreed with the government that there has to be a new subsidy intervention. We are waiting for the announcement which can be today, tomorrow or any time this week, said Musarara.
Explaining the logic behind why the GMAZ made submissions to the government on the need to up the price for subsidised mealie meal, he said the current subsidy price was agreed upon using locally secured maize meal.
He said there is need to take into account the fact logistical challenges involved in the importation of maize.
“We are unable to sale the stock we have because the subsidised price was computed using maize from GMB, now we have imported maize which is more expensive than the price of the 4000per tonne we are getting from GMB.
He also said the demand for mealie meal has increased because it has become the cheapest starch product in the market.
“The demand for mealie meal has gone up largely on the account of the ever-increasing costs of other starch products such as bread, potatoes and mealie meal becomes the cheaper product. Mealie meal is now consumed for lunch and breakfast.
“The demand as it stands now it’s an excess of 80 000tonnes, for commercial purposes. We are aware of the demand we are trying our best to address that,” he said.
Subsidised mealie-meal supplies have remained erratic across the country, with major supermarkets running out of the commodity, forcing most consumers to access it on the black market.
Due to the shortages people are now hoarding the product buying from one supermarket to the other anticipating deliveries, either for own consumption or for the black market.
The re-introduction of subsidised mealie-meal by government brought relief to most people as the commodity is pegged at $50, while it is selling for up to $100 on the black market.
But while the decision by Government was noble, citizens are battling to access the product as it is in short supply.
Whenever deliveries are made, consumers — especially those selling on the black market — stampede to get the product.
Some retailers are accused of releasing small quantities to the public while diverting it to the black market.