Mealie Meal price hikes looms as government increases maize producer prices to $12 000/t

Staff Writer

MARKET watchers have urged Zimbabweans to brace for another wave of mealie meal prices following announcements of new maize and traditional grain prices by government.

A leaked letter in our possession signed by Agriculture Ministry permanent secretary, John Bhasera and directed to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) confirms the producer prices paid out to farmers will be increased.

“Reference is made to the above subject; Cabinet approved reviewing the floor producer prices for  maize, traditional grains and soghum for the 2020/2021 marketing season.In the same vein you are required to review these prices in line with approved prices accordingly,” reads the letter in part.

Under the new prices maize will be sold at  $12 379.72 per metric tonne , Traditional Grains $12, 865  ,Soyabeans $17 211.74.

“These prices are effective as from April 1 and special exception is granted to Merrylene farm who had early crop delivered before April 2020 on special request by government,” the letter added.

The new price structures signify an almost 300 % increase for maize and traditional grains namely sorghum, millet and rapoko which were placed at  $4 000 per tonne in the previous farming season of 2019/2020.

However, market watchers say that such price ranges have the risk of exerting a downstream effect on the prices of mealie meal which in turn may increase hardships for the majority of Zimbabweans.

Currently a 10 kgs pocket of mealie meal is going for $70 on the formal market and around US$6 on the black market.

Experts also warned that the new price structures may still fail to lure farmers to take their gran to GMB arguing maize in is being sold at the parallel market for between US$5 to US$7.

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