11June 2007 Detention Watch from Zimbabwe Association

You might be interested to know that in June my own inflation figure in
my business was 22 000 per cent - up from 14 000 the month before. In
July, after two weeks of mayhem in the retail sector during which I was
raided 7 times by the "Task Force" my margins fell by 50

per cent, stock levels
declined and sales fell by about 40 per cent by week two. The butchery
closed and has remained closed because we simply cannot get any meat
from the CSC – the sole supplier. Today we sent our Butchery staff home
after paying them for July, on unpaid leave until we can reopen the Butchery.
Most others are in the same boat.

Our bakery is still functioning but margins have declined, in the case
of bread by more than 50 per cent. Many bakeries are now closed because
they have no fuel to fire the ovens and no fuel to run their trucks. Our
problem is raw materials, we use electricity for power and do not deliver but
the bigger bakeries with automated equipment are in big trouble.

This week we have reports that the regime is commandeering live cattle
for slaughter at CSC works and imposing a price on the cattle. At a
communal sale in the South East the communal farmers selling cattle were forced
to sell at a maximum price of Z$5 million per animal – we were paying in
June up to Z$25 million. The communal farmers protested by were not allowed
to remove their stock from the sale.

There is no chicken or pork on sale today nor any eggs. Suppliers said
they were trying to get some sense out of the authorities with little
They hope to resume some sort of supply next week. Manufacturers of all
foods report production levels of 10 to 20 per cent of normal.
Vegetable Oil prices have been increased by 400 per cent but are still below cost,
the same applies to milk and certain other products.

Maize meal, sugar and flour are unobtainable. I was in Zambia on
Tuesday and found markets there full of Zimbabwean foods – all available without
restriction at prices about three times those prevailing in Zimbabwe.
Fuel is completely unavailable – if you can find a back street operator we
are paying about double what we paid before the clamp down on prices (Z$240
000 to Z$400 000).

Eddie Cross
26th July 2007

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