SMALL and Medium Millers of Zimbabwe (SMMZ) has pladged to rein members selling underweight mealie-meal on the market.

This comes at a time when consumers have raised concern over the proliferation of underweight mealie-meal packages, among other questionable practices.

SMMZ chairperson Davis Mohambi told journalists in Bulawayo on Thursday that such practices will soon be stopped as they were killing the industry.

SMMZ is a grouping of 71 different small-scale millers.

“We were contacted by members on the issue of underweighting maize meal which has emerged in the market. We realised that it’s an issue that requires multi-sectoral players to come together. This is why we went to our parent ministry and had this caucus to mark the beginning of the journey to deal with the issue,” Mohambi said.

“Competition is welcome and is good for creating a sustainable sector and the economy. But we have got certain people, whether they do it knowingly or unknowingly, who underweigh a product.”

He added that such malcontents usually undercut prices to woo customers.

“To put into perspective, if mealie-meal costs US$5 and you pack 9kgs and go into the market with that perceived 10kg and sell it at $4,50. That 50c makes a huge difference in terms of sales and gives an unfair advantage to other players who are partaking in this problem,” he said.

He said the practice was  not limited to mealie-meal alone.

“We realised that it is not specifically for the millers. So we shall be required to come together as an industry to understand what is happening to come up with a resolution to the problem.

“There has to be self-regulation among industry players. The retailers are also key in this, so we shall be engaging them going forward so that they play a role which is required by the law because they are the gateway to the market.”

SMMZ compliance and investigations director Godknows Zhou acknowledged the problem and said measures were being taken against the malcontents.

“The government is actually pro-active in curbing these illicit business practices,” he said.