Kit Yamoyo price rises in Shoprite

Kit Yamoyo in Shoprite Jul-19

Last week (24-Jul-19) this image was sent to me from a friend in Zambia, who was part of the ColaLife trial and the Kit Yamoyo scale-up in Zambia, with the following kind message:

Can you imagine seeing this product 7 years down the line?
Thanks for the brilliant idea Simon and Jane.

God bless you guys.

The first thing I noticed was that the prices of Kit Yamoyo had gone up. The Flexi-pack format was K6.99 and is now K9.99 (a 43% increase) and the Screw-top was K8.59 and is now K11.99 (a 40% increase). When I pointed this out, this was the response:

Yes the price has gone up
Demand has slowly increased as told by the manager
It’s great customers know it very well.

On the one hand, any price rise is regrettable as it means that the products become less affordable and for some people this will have made the products unaffordable. This is not good even though the government version of Kit Yamoyo is increasingly available for free in government clinics.

But on the other hand, it does provide further evidence that our work in Zambia is self-sustaining. This price rise will have been a unilateral decision of the supermarket, or more likely a local negotiation between the manufacturer and the supermarket. The point is that we (ColaLife) don’t know. The first time I knew that the prices had gone up was when I saw this picture. The system is working without us.

So what are the likely drivers behind this price rise? Again, I’d need to check, but the devaluation of the Kwacha will have caused local inflation of goods manufactured using any sort of imported component. The raw materials to make the ORS and zinc that go into Kit Yamoyo in Zambia are imported.

Jane and Shop Assistant in Shoprite Sep-19

Since the above picture was taken in Sep-18, before the price rise, this is what has happened to the Kwacha exchange rate and local inflation:

Kwacha Exchange Rate Oct-18 to jul-19 Inflation in Zambia Oct-18 to Jul-19

Another factor may be that the supermarket has increased the margin it makes on Kit Yamoyo in line with other products. However, these retail prices are still likely to be lower than the price from wholesalers, who add a bigger margin, and so the supermarket will still continue to act as a wholesale source for small retailers that operate in the communities nearby.