After introducing ZUPCO buses that are evidently running at a loss, Government has gone ahead and opened its own satellite shops that will provide basic commodities to the public at a lower price than the prevailing market price.
The Shops are being run by SILO Foods Industries a division of the Grain Marketing Board. The GMB itself was last week exposed to be buying maize grain at $724 and selling it at $425.
The government venture which started operating as a fully-fledged commercial business unit in April this year, now has 84 shops countrywide, Grain Marketing Board (GMB) general manager Mr Rocky Mutenha has said.
In an interview with state media last week, Mr Mutenha said the products were being sold at reasonable prices in an effort to stabilise prices on the market.
“From April 1, 2019, Silo Foods became a stand-alone institution wholly owned by the GMB and are already operational. Silo products are already available at our 84 depots countrywide. We have gone beyond that to open satellite shops where Silo products are already being sold,” he said.
“Products such as mealie-meal, wheat flour, stockfeeds, salt and samp are already on the shelf and are being sold to the general public. Our prices are reasonable, remember Silo Foods was established to stabilise foodstuffs prices on the market, so we are a force to reckon with on the food market.”
A survey showed that the firm was selling a kilogramme of rice at $3,30 for its brand and $3,70 for Pagoda rice, while 2kg was selling at between $6,10 and $7 depending on the brand. This compares with prices of between $7 and $9,50 prevailing on the market.
A 5kg packet of Silo rice is selling at $15, compared to between $23 and $30 charged for similar products on the market.
A 5kg and 10kg of Silo upfu was going for $5,70 and $10,75 respectively while other brands on the market were going for above $7 and $11, respectively.
A 500g packet of Silo sugar beans is selling for $2,60 while the prices of similar products on the market are ranging between $3,64 and $3,79.
Apart from mealie-meal, rice and sugar beans, the company’s product range also comprises salt, samp, bran, peanut butter, kapenta, Pearl Millet grain, flour, mixed fruit jam, coffee, maputi, and popcorn.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa announced the roll out of Silo Foods after a Cabinet sitting at the end of March this year.
“With respect to the Public Enterprise Reform Programme, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development (Professor Mthuli Ncube) updated Cabinet on progress made following the de-merger of the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) into the Strategic Grain Reserve division and a commercial arm, Silo Food Industries.
“The minister highlighted that the following steps of progress had been made towards operationalisation of Silo Food Industries: that Silo Food Industries is set to begin operations in its new status from 1 April, 2019, that various institutions have already expressed interest to partner Silo Food Industries and that Silo Food Industries requires US$54,7 million and RTGS $40 million to finance its operations over a five-year period.”
“Taking into cognisance the critical role Silo Food Industries is set to play in the economy, Cabinet approved that the process of appointing the Silo Food Industries Board be expedited to give necessary strategic guidance and oversight to the entity; that funding proposals from potential strategic partners for Silo Food Industries be submitted for consideration and approval by Government and that Government’s minimum equity holding in Silo Food Industries be 26 percent.”
Government has since injected $70 million into to the business for it to ramp up production.
An additional US$95 million will be invested over a three-year period to make the project both viable and sustainable.