Ongoing cooking oil shortages on the market have had a negative effect on young women in Bindura who are reportedly resorting to barter trading se_x in exchange for the scarce commodity, this publication has learnt.

Cooking oil and other basic commodities such as bread and sugar have since last week disappeared from supermarket shelves amid failures by the government to secure adequate foreign currency for manufacturers to import raw materials.

The shortages have also resulted in the return of the black market where a two-litre bottle of cooking oil is sold at prices ranging from $10 to $15.

While there is so much to worry about with regards to the shortages, young Bindura women since found respite in sex for cooking oil from illegal mine workers also known as makorokoza.

“It is sad that most young girls in surrounding mining areas in Bindura are now selling sex for a two-liter bottle of cooking oil. Most of these young girls are from child-headed families and they have no other means of getting the scarce but important commodity and they end up falling prey to prying makorokoza,” said one Bindura rural woman, Tarisai Muchena who claims to have witnessed a couple of young women falling prey to these men.

“Some mine owners are now paying their workers in commodities which include mealie-meal, cooking oil, sugar, and soap and they then take advantage of the disadvantaged young girls, giving them cooking oil in return for sex,” added one woman who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“The young girls normally survive on handouts from well-wishers but now those good Samaritans are withholding their benevolence as they are keeping the little they have to sustain their families until such a time when normalcy returns.

“This means that they now have to resort to unthinkable means of survival which puts them at risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections and worse still, HIV/AIDS as they end up indulging in unprotected sex,” said Natasha Matika from Trojan Mine.

Most families in these mining towns are child-headed after their parents or guardians succumbed to the deadly HIV/AIDS pandemic.

“It is disheartening to note that most of these men are not sincere with these young girls. Instead of them helping out communities, they see an opportunity to go under the sheets with desperate young girls,” noted one lady identified as Amai Norma.

Fears of shortages are fueling the culture of hoarding and panic buying of basic commodities.

Finance and Economic Development Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube has since assured the nation that the currently economic problems that resulted in shortages will be addressed in a week’s time.

— 263Chat

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