Harare supermarkets run out of basic foodstuffs

MOST supermarkets in Harare’s central business district (CBD) are running out of stocks of basic goods as supply lines are drying up, the NewsDay has established.

BY FIDELITY MHLANGA

A survey done by NewsDay over the weekend revealed that retailers such as Food World, OK and TM Pick n Pay in the central business district did not have basics such as flour, mealie-meal and cooking oil.

The unavailability of the basics, according to retailers, has been attributed to massive hoarding following last week’s protests which saw businesses being shutdown.

“It’s a case of a supply gap, because most manufacturers could not distribute their products due to the shutdown. The gap taken by the shutdown cannot be filled easily. We are hoping that the suppliers would deliver today. I am actually coming from a meeting with suppliers right now, and they assured us that they would supply,” Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers president Denford Mutashu said.

One of the retail shops, Food World, has put a cap and is limiting one product per customer on all products to curb stock outs.

“As it stands, we don’t know when we are going to get the next supply. No supplier is promising to supply us with these products,” one of the retail staff said.

Customers are also experiencing a limited range of products in supermarkets.

Apart from lack of supply, supermarkets are also now resorting to closing earlier than usual.

The scarcity of flour on the shelves could have been worsened by the erratic supply of wheat from millers who are battling to import the product due to forex shortages.

Adding to the pressure, one of the major cooking oil producers, Surface Wilmar, recently suspended operations due to foreign currency shortages.

The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries warned that some retailers who had their businesses looted may completely fail to restock.

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