Cooking oil shortage in Zim: The economics of sell-fulfilling prophecies

Yesterday, my brother forwarded a message on the family WhatsApp group warning us about the imminent shortage of cooking oil in major retail outlets in Zimbabwe. The message included a grim reminder of the 2008 food crisis and a reommendation to start hoarding while supplies last. Today he confirmed that several stores were low on this basic food item.

On the surface, this sounds like good advice to friends and family. In a country where most people do not trust the national print and electronic media, social media has stepped in to fill the gap of market intelligence.

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Photo Credit: Micronutrient Initiative