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Grain Association Mulls Bypassing Wholesalers

THE Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) is considering eliminating wholesalers from the distribution of basic grain products 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 away with. If we eliminate the wholesaler for these essential products it means cheaper bread and mealie-meal.”

Mr Musarara said Blue Ribbon was opening in Gweru to buttress the direct transaction model they want to implement.

“When we deal direct 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 will be going around shops in the Midlands province.

Economic analyst Dr Gift Mugano, addressing the same meeting, urged retailers to revert back 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 : The Herald

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