A number of people face a possibility of hunger after a number of retail shops ran out of mealie meal ahead of the Christmas holiday, 263Chat has established.
A survey by this publication in the Harare Central Business District (CBD) and a number of shops in Chitungwiza showed that most of them had ran out of the precious commodity.
However, the current mealie meal shortages have been blamed on the Industry and Commerce ministry which failed to register over 60 millers for maize subsidy, with millers withholding their stocks to avoid losses.
AT the beginning of the month, government scrapped maize subsidies, but reintroduced them after a public outcry over high prices of the commodity.
Government, however, introduced a new condition that millers should be registered with the Industry ministry to qualify for the subsidy programme, in a statement released by the Finance ministry recently.
But some millers have complained that the registration process was very slow and about 60 millers have not been registered for the subsidy programme.
The millers are now withholding their stocks for fear that they may not be registered at all.
Speaking to this publication, some of the millers said they will play a wait and see game before they release their stock.
“We have a number of millers that have not been registered so far. These will definitely hold on to their stocks until and unless something happens. They cannot risk producing without being registered,” said one of the millers.
“The few who have been registered are struggling to supply the market and this has caused serious shortages of the product on the market. Only highly priced refined mealie-meal being sold at around $115 per 10kg is found in the shops.”
The gazetted price of the roller meal is $50, which is seen as affordable for the public.