Africa Moyo Business Reporter
The annual Harare Agricultural Show, which roars to life on Monday next week, has attracted 575 exhibitors, representing a 14 percent jump from last year’s figures.
This was revealed by Zimbabwe Agricultural Society (ZAS) chief executive officer Dr Anxious Masuka yesterday.
“The number of organisations exhibiting and the area taken up by exhibitors has increased by over 22 percent from 2015 to 2018, and by 14 percent in 2018 compared to 2017,” said Dr Masuka.
“Commercial exhibition space taken up (is) expected to increase from 79 730 square metres in 2017 to 85 730sqm in 2018, a 7,5 percent increase.
“To put this in a national perspective, the next biggest show or fair in Zimbabwe has 45 000 square metres of exhibition space.”
Commercial exhibitors are drawn from 18 business segments.
Exhibitor numbers at the Harare Agricultural Show have been surging from 460 in 2015 to 496 in 2015.
Last year, the country’s biggest show recorded 503 exhibitors.
Experts attribute the huge jump in exhibitor numbers this year to the renewed hope brought by the new dispensation led by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Both foreign and local investors are excited by the new prospects brought by the President Mnangagwa-administration, whose focus is now more on economics and less on politics.
After tweaking the country’s investment laws, particularly the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act which previously required locals to hold 51 percent shareholding in all investments owned by foreigners, foreign companies are stampeding to grab opportunities.
Government has only left the diamond and platinum sectors under the 51 /49 shareholding structure while all other sectors have been liberalised.
In addition to commercial exhibits, there are five more sections at the Harare Agricultural Show, including agriproduce, cotton, tobacco, livestock and micro-enterprises sections.
Winning exhibitors in the categories stand a chance to win a combined $240 000 in prizes.
Winners will be selected from those who demonstrate awareness in increasing yields, quality and cost-efficiencies across all farming sectors, from household to national levels to ensure national food security and export-led economic recovery.
In the agriproduce section, there will be 300 entries drawn from the country’s 10 provinces. Each province will contribute 30 entries.
The winners will get about $100 000 worth of prizes (tractor, plough, truck, farm inputs).
The cotton section will have only three winners allowed from each of the four growing areas in Zimbabwe (Masvingo, Midlands, Mashonaland West and Mashonaland Central).
Winners will get over $70 000 in prizes (tractor, plough, farm inputs) while the tobacco section will have provincial winners from Mashonaland East, West and Central, Manicaland and Masvingo; slugging it out.
There is $35 000 in prizes (tractor and inputs), for the winners.