By Mary Taruvinga
ZIMBABWEAN millers have urged consumers to avoid panic buying when large stocks of subsidised mealie meal are distributed to parts of the country starting this Wednesday.
In a joint statement with the Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR) Monday, the Grain Miller’s Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) assured locals there were enough stocks of the staple to feed the nation.
“In response to the ongoing COVID-19 induced national lockdown recently declared by His Excellency President, Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, and to ensure social distancing in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) in partnership with the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and the Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR), will this week be distributing subsidized roller meal to all the formal retail shops in the following cities and towns: Harare, Bulawayo, Mutare, Gweru, Chitungwiza, Kwekwe and Marondera,” said GMAZ.
With 14 confirmed infections and three deaths so far, the country is now in its third and last week of a government imposed 21-day national lockdown to avoid the spread of Covid-19.
In the midst of the long job and business break, citizens have been found scrambling for the scarce staple in violation of government calls to maintain social distancing as part of world recommended remedies to limit the spread of the pandemic.
The two organisations urged locals not to do any panic buying as there will be continuous distribution of the basic commodity.
“We urge the public not to do panic buying and assure constant and continuous supply of mealie meal in their local formal retail outlets during this difficult period,” said the groups.
The mealie meal will be delivered to retailers across the country and zoning system will be used in selling the basic commodity.
In Harare, the eastern suburbs fall under Zone 1.
These include Tafara, Mabvuku, Ruwa, Damafalls and other neighbouring suburbs.
Distribution will start on April 15 in these suburbs.
The western suburbs fall under Zone 2, the northern suburbs are in Zone 3 while the southern suburbs are in Zone 4.
Areas including Ushewekunze, Southley Park, Hopely and Stoneridge are in their own zone.
The zoning system will also be used in other towns and systems.