Zimbabwe Market update - 30 June 2016

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1. Staple foods

Maize Grain: There was a slight decrease in the price of maize grain from $0.40/kg ($7.00 per bucket) to $0.39/kg ($6.83 per bucket) from that of mid-June. This has been attributed to private traders continuing to tame their prices to meet that of the Grain Marketing Board. Maize grain continues to be available from the GMB and grain selling points at the controlled price of $22.50 per 50kg bag and at $15.00 per 50kg special price for rural communities. Farmer maize sales and the unrestricted movement of grain across provinces and districts have continued to promote the availability of the product on the informal market.

The number of grain traders has generally decreased across the 15 districts while the few remaining had reduced prices to match that of GMB. In Matabeleland North the average selling price for maize grain decreased to $0.34/kg ($5.95 per bucket) from $0.36/kg ($6.30 per bucket) at Mid-June. In the Midlands province, the average price of maize grain decreased to $0.35/kg ($6.13 per bucket) from $0.38 ($6.65 per bucket) at mid-June. In Gokwe South average selling price of maize dropped to $0.20/kg ($3.50 per bucket) from $0.29/kg or $5 per 20 litre bucket. Figure 1 shows the price trends of maize grain.

Informal traders continued to source maize grain from multiple source markets. In Mberengwa the traders were sourcing from local farmers with irrigation plots. In Shurugwi and Masvingo Rural districts, informal traders continued to source maize from farmers in Gokwe South, Hurungwe and Chikomba. In Gutu informal traders were sourcing in neighbouring Chikomba district and Seke (Beatrice farms) of Mashonaland East province and Chipinge district of Manicaland province some 300km away. In Zaka district traders were sourcing grain from Chikomba and Seke (Beatrice farms) with few going as far as Bindura. Traders in Matabeleland North (Lupane, Umguza and Nkayi) continued to rely on farmers in Gokwe South and Gokwe North. Of the traders interviewed, those who used to import from Zambia had ceased to do so as it was no longer profitable due to the availability of maize from nearer sources within Zimbabwe.

The GMB continues to be the major source of maize grain across the 15 districts. Maize grain from GMB was available at established selling points (average of 5 grain selling points per district) in all the 15 districts where maize grain was selling at $22.50 per 50Kg bag or $0.45/kg. As reported last Month (end of May), Gokwe North GMB depots and its 3 grain selling points continued to face logistical challenges and by end of June, they only had grain stocks for the Drought Relief Vulnerable Population Social Services Scheme. In Nkayi this subsidised commercial maize grain was not available. Matobo district continues to have one grain selling point, Maphisa GMB Depot. In Zaka, the GMB closed three of its selling points citing high operational costs and low business. As was the situation by end of May, the government special Rural Grain Facility, where a 50kg bag is sold at a subsidized price of $15, continued to be operational across the 15 districts targeted by the CTP project except Nkayi, Umguza and Gokwe North.