CONSUMER groups have expressed fears of possible milk shortages in Bulawayo, the country’s second largest city as some retail shops have since run out of the commodity.
A survey at retail outlets in Bulawayo yesterday revealed that some shops had run out of the product.
Big retail shops did not have 300ml and 500ml fresh milk, while OK and Greens supermarkets had the products.
In Harare, milk products were, however, readily available in shelves.
Consumer Council of Zimbabwe Bulawayo regional officer Comfort Muchekeza confirmed that there were shortages of fresh milk and pasteurised fresh milk in the city.
“This has been happening for some time and the shortages are not only on milk products, but other products as well. Consumers are now being short-changed in the sense that consumers have rights to access products,” he said.
“The consumer law of demand says that demand in a product means increases in prices as well.”
Muchekeza said product shortages often lead to a thriving black market.
“We would like to urge wholesalers to ensure that milk products are brought back to the market,” he said.
National Consumer Rights Association advocacy and campaign adviser Effie Ncube said there was scarcity of dairy cows in Zimbabwe, which has now led to milk shortages. He said this might trigger a rise in milk prices.
“The challenge is that there is shortage of dairy cows in the country. There is a need for capacitation of farmers so that they have sufficient cows and stock feeds,” he said.
“The second challenge arises from lack of capacity when it comes to the processing of milk. As a result, prices will go up, meaning it becomes okay for the elite while the majority of Zimbabweans will not have access to milk products and a balanced diet.”