SEVERAL villagers in Chirumanzu’s Ward 7 in the Midlands province have resorted to bartering maize for basic household goods such as sugar, flour and cooking oil as they cannot afford prices of these commodities.
Villagers are exchanging a 20 litre (lt) bucket of maize for a 2kg packet of sugar from urbanites in the nearby mining town of Mashava and Masvingo, who are cashing in on their desperate plight.
A villager, Constance Mariko, said they had no access to cash hence the use of maize as a form of payment.
“People from surrounding towns come with various commodities that we need on a daily basis, but as things stand, cash is hard to come by here, so we use maize to get sugar, salt and cooking oil,” Mariko said.
A worker at the nearby asbestos Mashaba Mine, Durban Dube, said he goes to the village with basics and exchanges them for maize before reselling the grain for a profit.
Dube said he was surviving on this business as Mashaba Mine has failed to pay workers over the years.
“What I do is just look for a little capital to buy basic commodities.
“When I go to the villages, I exchange a 2kg packet of sugar for a 20lt bucket of maize,” he said.
Investigations by Southern Eye showed that those who come with basic goods stock the maize and later resell it at higher prices when the grain is in high demand.
Headman Machinja warned villagers against “over trading” their maize saying they would run out of food before the next farming season.
“Villagers should be careful. They trade a bag of maize for sugar which costs about $2, but soon they will run out of grain and hunger will stalk them,” Machinja warned.