MAJOR supermarkets in Bulawayo have run out of mealie-meal and by yesterday only a few retail outlets had the commodity on the shelves.
A snap survey conducted in the city’s Central Business District revealed that major supermarkets did not have mealie-meal. Most shops in the western surbubs had also run out of mealie-meal.
At OK Zimbabwe Jason Moyo branch, which also did not have the mealie-meal on its shelves, the price was pegged at $36,50 for 10kg roller meal. TM Pick n Pay, Choppies and Food 4 less along Herbert Chitepo Steet, all did not have the commodity.
At Greens Supermarket which had the mealie-meal, a 10kg bag of roller meal was selling for between $43,70 and $48 depending on the brand.
Last week the prices were ranging from $25 to $30 for the same bag.
Consumers who spoke to Business Chronicle said the shortage started last week. They said they suspected some retailers were hoarding the commodity to create artificial shortages which will then trigger astronomical price increases.
The sudden shortage of mealie-meal is difficult to explain given that last week most retail outlets had large stocks of mealie-meal.
The Grain Millers’ Association (GMAZ) said the increased prices of mealie-meal was probably because the price of grain to millers had been increased.
GMAZ spokesperson, Mr Garikai Chaunza, said Government increased maize and wheat prices to millers by 86 percent and 38 percent respectively.
“Maize price is now at ZW$1 300 per tonne from ZW$700 per tonne with wheat going up from ZW$1 600 per tonne to ZW$2 200 per tonne,” he said.
Mr Chaunza could however not explain the shortages being experienced in the city.
Although the country did not harvest enough grain to meet national demand as a result of the drought experienced during last cropping season, Government has assured the nation that no one will starve as measures have been put in place to cover the deficit through imports.
Efforts to get a comment from the Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR) president, Mr Denford Mutashu were fruitless as his mobile number was not going through.