Draught hit Zimbabweans face a double blow as maize grain prices up

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Maize grain prices have risen marginally since last year with informal traders now charging US$7 for a 20 kg bucket of maize.

The increase has been attributed to lower stocks from farmers.

In October last year, a 20 kg bucket of maize grain was pegged at US$5.

Informal traders, who spoke to the ZBC News, said they have hiked prices as their suppliers comprising small scale and communal farmers are withholding maize grain since they expect low harvests this season.

Maize traders in Southerton highlighted that they are selling imports from Zambia since the local farmers no longer have grain to sell, with prices ranging from US$310 per tonne last year to the current US$340 per tonne.

“We are selling at US$6 per bucket, prices may rise but we only adjust according to how much we buy on the Zambian market,” said one trader.

Government issued out 60 permits to grain importers who have so far brought in at least 450 000 tonnes of maize grain.

In addition, the government has mobilised US$200 million for grain imports and will bring in between 500 000 to 700 000 metric tonnes of maize grain.

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