MEAT traders have refused to reverse the 30-50% hike they introduced on all meat products this year, saying the increments were necessitated by the high costs they were incurring along the value chain.
BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA
Yesterday, government failed to break the impasse, as stakeholders vowed to keep the prices up pending a second meeting to be held today with the National Competitiveness Commission.
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president Sifelani Jabangwe who chaired the meeting confirmed the stalemate.
“As of today (yesterday), there is nothing yet that has been done because we saw this as a more complicated problem than even the bread one that we were facing, so this one is a bit more complicated but it can be resolved,” he said.
“It (price increments) has been specifically to deal with mark-ups as all of them (meat players) are trying to hedge the challenges that they are facing but what has happened is that no one is benefiting, as consumers are not buying.
“It is the costs and the coordination which is the thing about a value chain. Sometimes, if the players do not collaborate and act individually, they can actually do it to the detriment of the entire chain and this is what we have having.”
Currently, meat players are charging between 30% and 40% mark-ups on meat which is up from a previous of 10 to 15% mark up on meat prices.
According to one of poultry players present at the discussions, who did not want to be named, beef meat has gone up due to increased demand, as chicken supply is still low on the back of the avian bird flu from October this year.
The reason for the price hike of chicken meat was due to a shortage of foreign currency required to import stockfeed.
Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) executive director Rose Siyachitema said they where receiving complaints that the price of beef, chicken, pork, and fish were now almost the same.
“What we understand from the public was that between those four products they used to be able to say ‘I will not eat beef, I will eat the other products because those alternatives are cheaper’. Now, beef and pork prices per kilogramme are nearly the same and kapenta is nearly the same as beef, so for us that is a challenge where all those products could have a similar price,” she said.
On Monday, government ordered players in the baking industry to reverse the 10% bread price hike introduced at the weekend.