Elita Chikwati–Senior Agriculture Reporter
Preparations for the 111th Zimbabwe Agriculture Show which starts on Monday at the Exhibition Park have intensified with the exhibition expected to showcase the growth registered in the agriculture sector due to the 2020/21 favourable rainfall season.
The show will be held from September 27 to October 1 under the theme “Synergies for Growth–Cooperate, Collaborate Complement” to rally support for the cause of agriculture and attendant value chains for increased “production, productivity and profitability”.
Exhibitors and visitors for this year’s show are expected to be fully vaccinated and those not vaccinated will be expected to produce a Covid-19 test certificate from a test taken not later than 48 hours before the show.
The Zimbabwe Agricultural Society (ZAS) will also facilitate free tests at entry.
ZAS chairman, Mr Ivan Craig said ZAS was encouraged by the interest from exhibitors willing to participate at this year’s annual event.
He, however, could not give the exact numbers of exhibitors who had register for this year.
“The number of exhibitors has increased and this has given us assurance of running a show. The tobacco halls, cotton and agri produce hall will be full.
Preparations are going on well despite the fact that some exhibitors had to go and attend the ZITF.
“Companies have started working on their stands.”
Mr Craig said the society will observe strict Covid-19 regulations and this included the need for visitors and exhibitors to get vaccinated.
“Contact less body temperature checks will be conducted on all entrants at every gate into the park,” he said.
All entrants will be required to strictly adhere to anti-Covid-19 protocols, specifically to wear face masks in such a way that the mouth and nose are fully covered, to maintain one metre social distancing, and to frequently wash hands with soap and sanitise frequently.
“We are encouraging exhibitors to get vaccinated. Our staff at ZAS is fully vaccinated. During the show week we will have booths inside the showground where those willing to get vaccinated can be served,” he said.
The 111th show comes as the agriculture sector is expected to grow by 34 percent, more than three times the 11 percent initially projected in the budget at the end of last year.
The huge jump in production was driven by better harvests of maize, groundnuts and sorghum.
There was also a combination of a good rainfall season, supported by adequate planning and preparation in a range of Government-programmes well before the season started, ensuring that farmers had adequate inputs on time.
Highlights of the show include the Annual National Agribusiness Conference an exhibition in the Mining Agri Village which will be held physically.
The Mining and Agriculture breakfast conference will demonstrate the strong synergies between mining and the agriculture sector.
Dr Matibiri said ZAS was expecting a bigger show this year with “During the show there will be booths outside the park where visitors can get a free test for Covid-19, while inside the park there will also be booths where free vaccinations against Covid-19 will be available.