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