Zimbabwe has enough stocks of sugar that can last for the next three years and consumers have no reason to panic or be forced to buy expensive produce from anyone, the Zimbabwe Sugar Sales Board (ZSSB) has said.

The assurance by producers comes at a time when some traders have been accused of hoarding basic commodities for speculative and profiteering ends, thereby driving consumers into panic buying.

Although the situation is slowly returning to normal following policy assurances by Government, ZSSB director Mr Admore Hwarare said some dealers were ripping off consumers by selling sugar for up to $6 per 2kg when they source it for less than a $1 for the same quantity.

He calmed down the market and advised consumers to resist such unjustified price increases.

Mr Hwarare, who is also chairman of Zimbabwe Commercial Sugar Association, said there was no justification for panic buying or increasing the price of sugar.

“We are small-holder farmers who produce sugar in Chiredzi and I can safely say we have enough sugar in stock that can last us for the next three years.

The water in our dams that we use to irrigate our sugarcane has a capacity to last for three years,” said Mr Hwarare.

“Zimbabwe Sugar Sales Board, which operates under Tongaat Hullets Zimbabwe, is selling our sugar at 80 cents per 2kg. The product is delivered to the retailer’s door step and we expect a 2kg packet of sugar to be sold at $1,50 and not the $6 that some retailers are charging. That is daylight robbery.”

He said the ZSSB was working on modalities to bring sugar next to all potential customers and appealed to Chivi RDC to help in the provision of warehousing space.

“We are working on having a stockist in every district and we are going to do the same in all the seven districts in Masvingo. Anyone who finds expensive sugar sold above the recommended price should call our sales manager at ZSSB so that it can be delivered at his or her door step.

“Unscrupulous retailers should not be allowed to deprive people and Government must re-introduce price controls where those who hike prices unnecessarily would have their licences revoked,” Mr Hwarare said.

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