Unscrupulous traders rip off drought-stricken villagers

Business people at Checheche Growth Point are fleecing desperate villagers by charging exorbitant prices for maize,mealie meal and other commodities.

Chipingehas been badly hit by drought, forcing people to turn to shop operators who have been hoarding goods and reselling at high prices, ranging from $7to $10 for a 20 kg bag of maize.

“The local shops are selling maize and mealie meal at unaffordable prices, we do not even know how we will survive up to April when we finally harvest from our fields,” said Rhoda Mudhadha.

“We did not harvest enough last season so they are taking advantage of that,” lamented LaizaSithole another Checheche villager.

Ward 24 Councillor, ZekiasSithole bemoaned the heartless behaviour. “Our survival is now in the hands of business people who seek to capitalise from our hunger,” Sithole said.

A report by the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee, a government-led consortium of UN agencies, official bodies and non-governmental organizations which conducts annual food security assessments, found that 12 percent of the rural population “will not be able to meet their minimum cereal needs during the 2011/12 season”.

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