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The facts behind Zimbabwe's roller meal distribution program

30 Apr 2020 at 18:17hrs | Views
1. The program is a private sector facility, which was initiated as a response to the covid-19 lockdown. The lockdown has made travelling difficult, hence the need for maize meal to be availed at residential areas in a transparent manner which allows  households to access the basic commodity without complications.

2. Black market - the decentralised distribution program and the publicised distribution schedule are measures aimed at enhancing transparency while curbing the black market. The grain millers have publicised the distribution schedule to allow the public to follow up and buy maize meal on scheduled dates. The more people buy from the shops the less need for black market products.

3. Maize meal availability- the issue of maize meal availability is a general knowledge question. Zimbabwe hasn't been able to produce enough to feed itself due to various factors. Millers have to purchase maize using free funds from foreign countries, the deliveries have been affected by the covid-19 scenario which has seen some trucks and ships being quarantined and delaying deliveries.

4. Price moratorium - grain millers were the first group to accept the price moratorium instituted as a response to the covid 19 scenario we are faced with as a nation. The price moratorium implies that grain millers will not raise the price of maize meal during the lockdown period.

5. Television adverts - the grain millers have a gone a step further and openly communicated what they are doing to ensure that tax payers and all zimbabweans are in the know. Other commodities such as cooking oil, sugar, fuel are being run quietly, the lack of transparent communication regarding these commodities opens up consumers to abuse and profiteering tendencies from those who get information and do not pass it on to everyone.

The best place to hide something is in the open?

An old adage says the best place to hide something is in the open. Could grain millers be hiding something in plain sight?

The fact of the matter is that grain millers have communicated openly to ensure that their consumers purchase products on time in a bid to keep the books balanced. The longer the millers hold on to the product the more they expose themselves to losses.

It therefore makes no sense to peddle fictitious scenarios which insinuate that grain millers are trying to score pr points or hide something. Just like any other business they want a quick turnaround and are doing their best to ensure that the people have access to the product.

Public funds?

The roller meal distribution program is bankrolled by the millers. The program does not enjoy any special funding from the government or public funds. The public has to be clear that this initiative is an initiative that has been initiated for the benefit of the consumer.

It is unfortunate that we were a sold a narrative which says that gmaz is a cartel and everything they do is for their benefit. We were sold the same narrative when gmaz instituted a price monitoring program. The price monitoring program was dismissed and now consumers are demanding the same price monitors and program to return as consumers suffer from unjustified price increases.

Gmaz has instituted a decentralised roller meal distribution program as a response to covid-19 and some quarters are peddling fake news and dangerous narratives that insinuate that the program is a cover up for something sinister. What is sinister about taking maize meal to the people as they are under lockdown? Food security issues should not be politicised neither should they be used to push political scores. Food security is about the people for the people.

Let's put facts first. Agenda setting should not come at the expense of integrity and the people's welfare.

Source - John mbizvo
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