BULAWAYO is experiencing a shortage of vegetables due to water shortage, Chronicle has established.
This has pushed prices up while removing vegetables from menus of most homes and restaurants. Vendors and supermarket shelves have gone for weeks without the popular chomolia and rape thereby pushing the price of cabbages up. A head of cabbage now costs between $18 and $25.
A survey carried out by The Chronicle around the city yesterday revealed that vegetables are in short supply and demand is very high.
Mr Busisa Moyo (29) a vegetable vendor at the market along 5th Avenue said it is not normal for vegetables to be in short supply during this time of the year as demand is usually low.
“It’s quite weird because we should be having low demand for vegetables during this period but it is different. There are no rains and as a result vegetables are in short supply. The little vegetables available on the market are very expensive owing to high demand,” he said.
Another vendor, who also operates at the market, Mr Artwell Sibanda (37) said business was low because of the high price of vegetables from suppliers.
“We buy a bundle of vegetables from our suppliers for $65 and we re-package them into smaller bundles that we sell for $15 but still our profit is very minimal because we get $7 profit per bundle. It was going to be good had it been that we are pushing large volumes but we are only getting little from our supplies,” said Mr Sibanda.
The bulk of chomolia and rape is supplied by farmers from Matopos and Nyamandlovu.
A till operator at a major retail outlet who preferred anonymity said they last received green vegetables last month and were not expecting any deliveries in the near future. “We no longer have any deliveries of green vegetables and we are not likely to have any soon because it has been long since our last supply”, she said.
Ms Monica Moyo, a vendor, said two weeks ago a big bundle was going for $20 at the market but now it is $50.
“I used to buy bundles of vegetables at the market but now I find it difficult to sell it because five leaves are going for $5. Now I am getting them from Rangemore or Kensington plots but still the prices have gone up. At the plots a bundle was $3,50 but now it is $9 and farmers are saying vegetables have been affected by water shortage”, said Ms Moyo.
Mr Denis Zhou said his family of four has resorted to eating soya chunks and cabbage because chomolia and rape are scarce and expensive. “My family can only afford chunks and cabbages. Cabbages are cheaper because a head is selling for $25 and can last three or four days,” said Mr Zhou.