Zimbabwe First Lady 'begs retailers to lower food prices'

Friday December 13 2019

Auxillia Mnangagwa

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa (left) sits with his wife, First-lady Auxillia after he was officially sworn-in during a ceremony in Harare on November 24, 2017. PHOTO | TONY KARUMBA | AFP 

BBC
By BBC
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Zimbabwean First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa has asked manufacturers and retailers to lower prices of food and basic commodities, the state-owned Herald newspaper reports.

Mrs Mnangagwa reportedly urged the traders to consider the plight of low-income earners.

"I implore all of us to continuously work on our pricing models so that they are reflective of the poor, whose right to food security remains paramount. Let us improve access to basic commodities to the marginalised, while ensuring that your businesses remain viable," she said at the the annual retailers and manufacturers awards.

The First Lady said she was aware of the high cost of production in the country.

"I am aware of the challenges business is facing like foreign currency, load-shedding, fuel situation and high cost of rentals," she is quoted as saying.

Around a half of the country's population is facing hunger, with 7.7 million reported to be experiencing severe hunger.

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The UN has already announced that it will provide food aid to 4.1 million of those facing hunger.

Zimbabwe was once a major food producer in southern Africa but is currently in the middle of a drought and inflation that have both adversely affected food production.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa government plans to scrap its plan to remove grain subsidies next year, a move it says will protect impoverished citizens from rising food prices, state media reported last month.

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