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Overview

The food situation remains critical in Zimbabwe, with further shortages expected this year. The government introduced the Grain Loan Scheme in 2011, as a way to help maize farmers purchase implements. The scheme has been unsuccessful, however, due to the persistent spells of drought experienced.

Maize meal (roller meal – unrefined), oil, Sugar, Salt and Sugar beans account for 80% of the groceries in Zimbabwe.  ‘The national staple is sadza, the white maize meal porridge most locals are raised on. The second component of the Zimbabwean diet is meat (or nyama). Other commonly consumed types of food include rice, beans, lentils, peas, corn-soya blend, sorghum, and bulgur wheat. Popular fish include bream and the white bait-like dried kapenta from the lake Kariba and trout from rivers and dams in the Eastern Highlands.

Local foods are between 15-20% more expensive than imported goods as their overheads at the moment are so much more expensive. the government has not applied a price freeze for basic goods. South Africa is the major trading partner with reference to the general food basket and groceries. As it is oil and sugar are imported from Brazil and purchased through brokers at the port in Durban, South Africa. Sugar from Zimbabwe is exported for much need foreign currency. However, prices fluctuate on the world market according to seasons and Malawi is another major importer of sugar to this country. Zambia exports grain to Zimbabwe as they have a surplus of grain. South Africa also exports maize meal to Zimbabwe in large quantities especially to the southern parts of the country because of their proximity. Olivine industries have resumed operations but soap is still imported, which is indicative of the lack of foreign currency across the country. Smaller importers like Kappjack Trading have the ability to provide cheaper goods as their overheads are far lower than the bigger food chains in Zimbabwe, possibly up to 25% cheaper. The major retailers in Zimbabwe are Mohammed Musa, Spar, Town & Country, Bhadela, TM, OK, and Bon Marche.

Generic country information can be located from sources which are regularly maintained and reflect current facts and figures. For a general overview of country data related to the service and supply sectors, please consult to following sources:

The Observatory of Economic Complexity – MIT (OEC) Zimbabwe page 

Zimbabwe's Food and Water Security Outlook

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