Seizing maize and déjà vu

ByElizabeth J. Bohn

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Winter snuck in the back again door in an icy blast this 7 days in my home town. It arrived right after two months of weird weather: pounding, flooding rain when it must have been bone dry, then chilly and misty, then very hot once more and now a biting wind, 4 levels at evening, battling up to the mid teens in the day.

Woolly hats, Zimbabwe’s unofficial national costume irrespective of whether it’s 4 degrees or 40, coats, boots, doubled up blankets and home windows closed, we are preparing for the coldest two months of the yr.

Zipping my jacket up to my chin and with head down versus the wind I headed into the supermarket, promising a shivering outdated man who questioned for support that I’d provide him a loaf of bread on the way out.

The shocks await us every single time we go in the supermarkets, with inflation formally mentioned at 131% but realistically at 256% according to Johns Hopkins economist Steve Hanke who’s been observing Zimbabwe’s financial state for a extremely long time.

Zimbabwe’s very own highly regarded economist, Tony Hawkins, stated final week he agrees with Hanke and that: “Zimbabwe now has the highest inflation charge in the world.”

The further we go into the mire having said that the additional the figures become almost irrelevant. Virtually every thing likely into the supermarket trolley now is at minimum Z$500 (close to R24.14), even a loaf of bread is just beneath that price tag. It’s all so absurd when the highest lender note listed here is Z$100 and you will need 5 of them just to buy a loaf of bread.


As common I head to the maize food shelf, Zimbabwe’s staple food, and for the 3rd 7 days in a row, there is even now none to purchase, not a solitary bag. A 7 days ago the GMB (Grain Internet marketing Board), which controls all the grain in the country, claimed they had indefinitely suspended grain allocations to millers for unclear reasons. It’s murky to say the the very least as to why allocations were stopped.

1 top rated milling firm government claimed: “I can ensure the allocations were stopped and we really don’t really know why.” One more miller explained: “We have absent for more than 6 months without an allocation.” (NewsDay)

Farmers can only offer their maize to the GMB and are compensated at a ratio of 70% in Zimbabwe dollars (which devalue practically by the day) and 30% in US dollars. In clear panic the Secretary for Lands and Agriculture claimed he experienced requested a “grain busting operation” to seize stocks of maize farmers had been holding back owing to lower costs.

In accordance to the law no just one can ‘buy or acquire’ maize from any farmer other than via the GMB.

The Secretary for Lands said they would even intercept grain staying moved from 1 area to another. “Not a lot more than 5 x 50 kg baggage maize can be moved with no any licensed human being or law enforcement officer getting to confiscate the maize,” the laws states.


How very well we all bear in mind police and ‘other’ road blocks checking our cars and purchasing men and women out of buses to look at if we ended up hiding our have maize to acquire to our possess families back again in 2007.

Each and every working day now is a circumstance of déjà vu in Zimbabwe, and I headed back out into the wind and cold and gave the old guy a loaf of bread. Meals for a working day, it is all any of us can do.

Afterwards on I achieved a guy who set the crisis into perspective when he advised me he normally harvests a ton of maize but “this period we only received two buckets” (40kg) and it was drying on the roof of his property. A image speaks a thousand phrases …

A harvest that yielded two buckets of maize. Picture: Cathy Buckle

Copyright © Cathy Buckle


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