By Moses Charedzera
The Grain Marketing Board has increased the prize of a tonne of maize from ZWL 6000 to ZWL 12 400 forcing the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe to suspend zonal distribution of subsidised maize.
The increase is despite an agreement reached last week between GMAZ, the government and other players to freeze and revert to prices obtaining before the lockdown.
GMAZ Chairman Tafadzwa Musarara said they have been forced to halt the distribution of the subsidised mealie-meal due to the price rise. He was speaking when GMAZ were overseeing the sale of the staple commodity in the Ushewokunze area in Harare.
“We are having a challenge with the issue of pricing. Last week the government and ourselves entered into an agreement that prices will not go up during the lockdown. We announced a price moratorium and that price moratorium was a coalition of the willing. Yesterday (Tuesday) GMB increased the price of maize by a 100 percent. This has now forced millers to stop supplying the product because that was done without proper consultation,” he said.
He added that the grain supply situation remains low and it is for that reason they want to openly and transparently distribute available stocks.
Under the subsidised mealie meal programme a 10 kg of roller meal is being sold for ZWL 70 dollars and consumers who have benefitted from the scheme have hailed the Government and GMAZ for availing the cheap mealie-meal. The same bag of unsubsidised mealie-meal costs US$7 dollars which is equivalent to ZWL 350 on the black market.
GMAZ have taken the price issue to the Minister of Industry and Commerce Dr Sekai Nzenza who is expected to give guidance on the way forward.