9,600% increase in maize price-(22-02-07)

HARARE - The Grain Marketing Board has raised the price of maize to Millers from Z$6 000 a tonne to Z$58 000 a tonne. This is a price increase of 9 600 per cent, but farmers are insisting they want a producer price of $400,000 to remain viable.
It follows similar price adjustments to the price of

wheat which has been raised three times since late December, bringing bakers’ flour from Z$150 000 a tonne to Z$900 000 a tonne with a further increase due this week – again due to an increase in wheat prices charged by the GMB to millers.
Prior to these price changes the GMB was running a loss estimated at Z$1,4 trillion dollars per annum (calculated at present world market prices and the market rate for the Rand).
Retail prices this week have hovered about the Z$100 000 to Z$160 000 per tonne level. The new GMB price will push maize meal prices in stores to over Z$200 000 a tonne. Millers say maize is in very short supply nationwide and recent imports are of very poor quality. Maize meal has been scarce on the formal market but is readily available on the black market where it sells for astronomic prices.
There is still no local cooking oil in the market although imported product is generally available at twice the controlled price. There is no price control on imported products. There is very little sugar as this product is being rationed by the producers into the market.
Sugar prices are still well below the cost of production. Fats such as margarine are also very hard to find for the same reason. A further increase in the price of bread is imminent. – Own correspondent

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