Monday, 15 June 2020


The door-to-door sale of subsidised roller meal in Mutare has been stalled, triggering an outcry from residents who say it is difficult to buy the basic commodities in supermarkets.

For over a month now, residents in the high density suburbs of Dangamvura, Gimboki, Chikanga, Sakubva and Hobhouse have not been able to buy subsidised roller meal from retailers.

The programme was launched in Makoni and Mutare in April and had since been expanded to cover all districts to ensure adherence to lockdown regulations to combat the spread of coronavirus.

The retailers last month came under fire from residents who complained that they were demanding payment in US dollars only and refusing other forms of payment.

Roller meal was pegged at $70 or US$2 for a 10kg bag.

Mrs Alice Masaka of Dangamvura Area C said the programme had made it easier for most people, especially the old and those with disabilities, to access affordable roller meal. 

“Before the programme was launched, some people would not be able to buy maize-meal because the queues were always too long and the roller meal was always finished before we got to the till,” she said.

“Only those with connections could buy. This door-to-door programme was a blessing for us, but we have not seen the people in almost four weeks and we are worried. Even if I go to Pick n Pay at Dangamvura Complex, I will not be able to get anything.”

Mr Fungai Machoba from Gimboki Phase Two urged Government to come up with plans for the programme to resume.

“I last bought maize-meal in April when the team came here, and since then, we haven’t seen them,” he said.

“We were really happy that Government had made it easier for us to access food, but now we do not understand what is happening.

“We are even willing to buy using US dollars because those selling on the black market are now taking advantage and charging US$4 or US$5 for a bag, and we cannot afford it.” 

Gogo Mamoyo from Hobhouse phase 1 said she was too old to stand in a queue for maize-meal.

She said she was now being forced to buy the more expensive maize-meal in supermarkets.

Covid-19 sub-taskforce on industry and commerce head Mr Kupukani Masunungure said the programme had been affected by a shortage of the product.

“The challenge we have been facing is that supply has been limited. The producer price of maize has gone up and there are talks between millers and Government to see how this will affect the price of the subsidised roller meal,” he said.

“The millers are in business, so there has to be consensus on pricing that will ensure that they stay afloat.

“As a result, the door-to-door sales have been affected. For now, only Mega Market has been releasing roller meal and the rest of the millers are not releasing the product, but we are working on that.”

Over 10 000 families in Mutare benefited from the programme during the first week and the numbers had more than trebled by the beginning of last month. Herald


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