Brighton Gumbo, Business Reporter
PRODUCERS of purified water and traditional mahewu drink have slashed prices from about $0.50 to as low as $0.20 and $0.25 per 500ml bottle respectively as players in the sector compete for customers.
Last year, the government registered 67 bottled water companies with the Ministry of Health and Child Care tasked to supervise the chemical and micro-biological status of the products.
This was in compliance with the Food and Food Standards Act, a statutory instrument that protects the public from food products’ health risks.
Beverages and food processing companies such as Delta, Ingwebu, Dairibord and Arenel have also ventured into mass production of mahewu drink.
A snap survey conducted by Business Chronicle in Bulawayo yesterday revealed that outlets like Pick n Pay, Choppies, OK and Greens had prices of the two commodities falling below the usual $0.50 mark.
Given the scorching temperatures and health considerations, there is a huge demand for liquids, particularly bottled ones.
Adlife 500ml water bottle was going for $0.25, Vivon $0.29 and Schweppes still water was $0.39.
Mr Maheu creamy was going for $0.25 per 500ml, Inkezo royal maheu $0.39 as well as Arenel Mukombe Maheu.
Ingwebu’s royal mahewu goes for $0.40 per 500ml.
However, Tinga Mira was still pegged at $0.50.
Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) economist Kipson Gundani said the deflationary environment has seen companies producing in excess and they are being forced to sell their products even cheaper.
“At the close of last year we noted a reduction in commodity prices and this had to do with the deflation that was being experienced in the country,” said Gundani.
“This is a direct effect of weak aggregate demand.”
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor, John Mangudya, recently called on businesses in the country to reduce prices to enhance economic competitiveness.
He said higher price margins and labour costs were the biggest impediments to economic growth that must be urgently reviewed to ignite life into the economy.