A check conducted by Times of Zambia in Livingstone yesterday revealed that Spar and Shoprite town centre outlets had run out of mealie meal by press time in the morning.
However, Shoprite Musi O’Tunya Square outlet only had few bags of 25 Kilogram (kg) of National milling roller meal by mid-morning.
A 25kg bag of breakfast mealie meal bag was initially going at K74.99 in Shoprite and K 85.50 in Spar while a 25kg bag of roller meal was fetching at K 58.99 in Shoprite and K 66.30 in Spar.
A National milling Shoprite town centre merchandiser, who declined to be named, said the commodity was expected to be in stock later by yesterday.
“We don’t have mealie meal right now and we feel for the traders who are coming into the shop and bouncing.
“I can assure them that the truck is being loaded at the milling plant and by 14 hours mealie meal will be on the shelves,” he said.
However, a check at Maramba as well as Dambwa Central and Ellain Brittel markets revealed that they all had adequate stocks of the commodity.
A 25kg bag of National milling and Choma milling breakfast mealie meal were selling at K80 and 25kg roller meal selling at K62 respectively.
And Collins Mubiana, a taxi driver operating from Shoprite town centre, claimed that the smuggling of mealie meal into Zimbabwe had created an artificial shortage in most major outlets of Livingstone town.
Mr Mubiana called on the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) and the Ministry of Agriculture to help curb the smuggling of mealie meal into neighbouring countries.
“We are having problems with Zimbabweans traders who have been flocking into Shoprite on daily basis, buying more than 20 bags per person and this has created the artificial shortage in this shop.
“It is sad that immediately a truck loaded with mealie meal is offloaded, it only takes about an hour and the shelves will be empty again.
“Those in relevant authorities should help us control the smuggling of mealie meal into Zimbabwe because very soon the price of mealie meal in Livingstone will go high because of demand in our neighbouring countries,” Mr Mubiana said.