Zim­babwe’s maize meal prices drop by half af­ter good rains

African Independent - - BUSINESS -

fi­irst time in a decade.

The price of mealie-meal has dropped from $6.05 to $3 for a 10kg bag while a 20kg bag now costs $6 from $12.

Maize prices have also dropped to a record low price of $2 per bucket from $7.

Knowl­edge Trans­fer Africa, an or­gan­i­sa­tion which tracks trad­ing trends in agri­cul­tural prod­ucts, con­firmed the prices of grain have dropped sig­nif­i­cantly over the past month and will con­tinue to do so un­til De­cem­ber.

The Zim­babwe Farm­ers’ Union (ZFU), the largest rep­re­sen­ta­tive body of com­mu­nal farm­ers in the coun­try, said the prices of grain will con­tinue to go down un­til the end of the year. ZFU re­gional man­ager in south­ern Zim­babwe Jeremiah Chimwanda said nearly ev­ery house­hold in the coun­try man­aged to har­vest more than enough for con­sump­tion, hence the sharp drop in prices.

“Be­cause of the good rains this past agri­cul­tural sea­son nearly all farm­ers man­aged to get more than enough and there­fore the farm­ers are cur­rently sell­ing their sur­plus,“said Chimwanda.

“We are ex­pect­ing to see the prices fall­ing un­til De­cem­ber this year and right now in some ar­eas a bucket of maize is go­ing for only $1,” Chimwanda added.

Com­mu­nal farmer Onias Mu­zondo said he was sell­ing a bucket of maize for $2 be­cause the mar­ket is flooded with the prod­uct.

“We are run­ning short of cus­tomers here in Zaka dis­trict be­cause nearly ev­ery­one is sell­ing maize,” said Mu­zondo.

“If the sit­u­a­tion re­mains like this we will have no op­tion but to slash the prices fur­ther, down maybe to $1 a bucket.”

Al­though the producer price of a ton of maize in Zim­babwe is $390 – the high­est in south­ern Africa – Zim­bab­wean farm­ers shun sell­ing their pro­duce to the Grain Mar­ket­ing Board be­cause of the paras­tatal’s in­abil­ity to pay farm­ers. Zim­babwe has been im­port­ing grain since em­bark­ing on the chaotic land re­form pro­gramme in 2000, which saw nearly 400 white com­mer­cial farm­ers be­ing pushed off their land with the tacit ap­proval of Pres­i­dent Robert Mu­gabe.

Last year about $300 mil­lion was used to pur­chase grain from coun­tries like South Africa, Zam­bia and Malawi as the coun­try pro­duced 511 000 tons af­ter ex­pe­ri­enc­ing one of the worst droughts in decades.

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