Elita Chikwati : Senior Reporter
THOUSANDS of people from all walks of life yesterday gathered to witness the official opening of the 106th edition of the Harare Agricultural Show at Glamis Stadium. The show was officially opened by Sierra Leone Vice President Victor Bockarie Foh. The multitudes included, Government officials, diplomats, Zanu-PF supporters, apostolic sect members, farmers, businesspeople, members of the uniformed forces and the general public including children.The programme started in the morning with three separate tours by President Mugabe, VP Foh accompanied by Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko, the First Lady, Dr Grace Mugabe and her delegation touring the other section of the Exhibition Park.
The programme in the arena started in the afternoon with the arrival of delegates including ministers and diplomats.
Service chiefs and vice presidents arrived before the First Lady.
President Mugabe arrived with Mr Foh and proceedings started with a national anthem for Sierra Leone followed by the national anthem.
As the First Lady, Dr Mugabe arrived Zanu-PF supporters waved and ululated others shouting Amai. The same happened when the President arrived with some breaking into song, “Kunyepa kuti Gushungo vakura and Tinovada Gushungo MuZimbabwe”.
Zimbabwe Agricultural Society president, Mr Ngoni Kudenga, gave opening remarks before the guest of honour officially opened the show.
Mr Foh presented prizes to exhibitors who had outstanding exhibitions and stands.
The major prize for the small scale farmers went to a Sanyati farmer, Mrs Gracious Makoti who went home with a tractor, plough and $500 donated by Case Tractors.
She encouraged other farmers especially women to participate at shows and win prizes. Among other winners were Seed Co, ZRP, Moneymaker Irrigation Pumps, TelOne, Alpha Omega and Gushungo.
Mr Foh was impressed with the quality of exhibits and the organisation of the show by ZAS that he donated $1 000 to the society.
In his opening remarks, Mr Kudenga said he was pleased by the increase in uptake of exhibition space and increase in the number of exhibitions.
He said despite economic hardships there had been an increase from last year’s 70 000 square metres to over 75 000 square metres representing seven percent from some 420 local exhibitors and six regional countries.
“We have increased entries in the livestock section by two percent and new fish entries for the first time. We now have provincial winners participating. Home industries entries increased by 76 percent, agri-produce is strong, with 30 winners each from our 10 provinces.
“The wide variety and high quality of exhibits is testament to the resilience by many of our businesses and we thank them for this continued vote of confidence in the Harare Agricultural show.
“The show provide a platform to highlight their brands and market these to an estimated 200 000 people spanning and my council is working out strategies to increase the exhibition space and grow show attendance in the years ahead,” he said.
Mr Kudenga said for the first time, the Chamber of Mines and its members , the Zimbabwe Miners Federation and its members were exhibiting following the successful co-hosting of the MINEX in April last year.
“The Marketers Association of Zimbabwe is co-ordinating the society’s leadership for enhanced agricultural development series discussions to provide a platform for focused discussions on practical and relevant aspects of the agricultural value chain during the show.
“Zimbabwe Chamber of Commerce organised an exciting discussion on agricultural value chain challenges and opportunities. In view of the import restrictions brought by the SI64, the society crated a space for a Zimbabwe Goods Pavilion in collaboration with Buy Zimbabwe to highlight local production capacity,” he said.
This year the show ran under the theme’ Climate Resilience: The New Agricultural Frontier.