A severe shortage of mealie meal has given birth to a thriving black market for subsidised roller meal, with the product being delivered to supermarkets in drips and drabs while it is abundantly available on the parallel market.
Some Bulawayo residents who spoke to the Chronicle accused unscrupulous shop owners, local councillors and police officers who control mealie meal queues of diverting the product to the black market where it is sold strictly for cash.
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Meanwhile, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Paul Mavima said the government is working on importing maize to make mealie meal readily available for the consuming public. Said Mavima:
Although this is not something that is directly being handled by my Ministry, I am aware that Government is seized with the matter and has tasked an inter-ministerial team headed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade to bring grain into the country. I know they are doing a lot to improve the situation. The private sector is also doing something. With the two we are hopeful that the mealie-meal situation will improve.
Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) spokesperson, Garikai Chaunza distanced his organisation from the ongoing chaos in the distribution of mealie meal.
Chaunza said GMAZ has offered the government 40 000 metric tonnes of maize to purchase to avert the prevailing mealie-meal shortages but the government has not yet taken the offer.