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Millers to do away with middlemen

by Staff reporter
03 Jul 2019 at 08:33hrs | Views
THE Grain Millers' Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) is considering eliminating the role of wholesalers in the distribution of basic commodities to make them affordable to consumers.

Addressing retailers during a consultative meeting last week in Gweru, GMAZ chairperson, Mr Tafadzwa Musarara, said eliminating the wholesaler would result in the removal of about four percent of the cost price of a commodity like mealie meal.

"We are working on modalities to see to it that products like mealie meal are sold straight or direct from the producers to the retailers. Our members will be coming to you shortly on modalities to that effect. We believe there is no need for a wholesaler just like the fuel product doesn't have a wholesaler," he said.

"We want to eliminate the middleman on these sensitive products like bread and mealie meal. From the miller or baker, a wholesaler will charge two percent on the product and a retailer will put an additional two percent, making it an unnecessary four percent that the consumer is forced to part with.  

"If we eliminate the wholesaler for these essential products it means cheaper bread and mealie meal."

Mr Musarara said one of the established milling firms, Blue Ribbon, would be opening a branch in Gweru to buttress the direct transaction model they want to implement.

"When we deal directly it means the small and large retailers are at par in availing mealie meal and bread to the people every time and on time," he said.

GMAZ also introduced price monitors who are going around shops in the Midlands province to monitor prices.

"They shall be visiting your shops to monitor the price of our products. They are not your enemies. They will be submitting reports on daily basis. If you are caught on the wrong side we will consider withdrawing supplies to you. This will be done in the best interest of the consumers," said Mr Musarara.

Economic analyst Dr Gift Mugano, addressing the same meeting, urged retailers to revert to the normal pricing system especially as Government is subsidising basic products.

"The idea of Government subsidising is to protect the consumers. Government is investing into the supply chain of basic commodities such as mealie meal, flour, sugar beans and salt so that the consumer is cushioned. We are in a period where austerity measures are now being implemented and the Government has come in with protection for the end user. Overpricing is a trigger for economic and social unrest hence Government will not watch such a situation," he said.

Source - chronicle