Plans by the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) to increase the price of subsidized mealie-meal and increase supply in the market will hit a brick wall if corrupt tendencies by shop dealers are not dealt with. Shop owners become notorious for selectively providing mealie-meal only to their preferred persons leaving out those who need it the most.
Addressing journalists, Tafadzwa Musarara from the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ), said plans of increasing subsidized mealie-meal prices are well underway in order to meet the inflationary pressures prevailing in the market.
“We are planning on increasing the price of roller meal so that the product can be availed to consumers at an affordable price,” said Musarara.
Women condemned the move citing that there is too much corruption affecting even distribution of meal-meal.
Junita Sibanda said some people will get it before it has been distributed and sell at unreasonable prices. She noted that the subsidized mealie-meal is only bought by a few individuals who have connections with shop owners.
“I do not think that increasing the price of roller meal will ensure that the product supply increases in the market,” she said. “You realize when roller meal comes it already has owners who purchase it in larger quantities.”
“For me to get mealie-meal, it means I have to wake up at midnight and join queues so that I can purchase it,” she added. “If you are number eleven in the line then you are rest assured that you will not get the mealie-meal, but someone else who is not in the queue will come and buy it.”
Miss Buhlebenkosi Moyo, shared the same opinion stating that, the price increment will not help citizens because corruption levels related to the subsidized roller meal are high.
“In Cowdray Park we have not received subsidized roller meal for two months,” said Moyo. “We had it once and only a few individuals got it and we do not know how but they did. Most people only heard that there was such a program but a few go it.”
Some said that even when supply might increase, many might not afford to buy mealie-meal due to the declining values of income.
Rumbidzai Munemo said: “The mealie-meal might be readily available but only a few will afford it and many will be hunger struck due to the current economic status in the country.”
The plan to increase roller meal prices, follows realizations that Zimbabwe is facing critical shortages of mealie-meal, owing to noncompetitive prices, shortages in grain and delays in subsidy disbursements by government.
The roller meal subsidy program was introduced by the government in December last year, in order to cushion consumers from highly priced mealie-meal prices.
Grain millers have since offered to pay maize meal farmers in US dollars in order to get full supply of the basic commodity.
Source: Women’s Institute for Leadership Development