Small traders shine at Agric show

HARARE - Small traders enjoyed brisk business at the recently-ended 103 edition of the Harare Agricultural Show.

With thousands thronging the Exhibitions ground for a week to witness what the country’s agriculture sector has to offer, it was business time for small-time vendors.

In fact, all the roads in the show grounds resembled a fair-like ambiance with traders dealing in children’s toys, ice creams, sweets, balloons and face painting.

“This is my third year coming to the show. Every August I make it a point to come to Harare from Guruve and sell my traditional artefacts,” said Esnath Tabvirwa.

Tabvirwa is part of a contingent of Zimbabweans who have become entrepreneurs to beat the high unemployment rate in the country.

The southern African country has one of the world’s high unemployment rates, hovering over 85 percent.

“The (Agriculture) show is a good occasion for us to make brisk business as people in Harare visit this area and make purchases. We usually make around $300 to $600 during this period,” said Tendai Mutambu, a local vendor who has been selling candle stands, flower vases, hand mirrors, musical instruments, and winnowing trays for the past few years.

Apart from these kiosks, stalls stacked with household ethnic items and food stalls serving mouth-watering dishes drew massive crowds with people revelling and feasting.

Amateur photographers and face-painting artists also take advantage of the annual show to make a few dollars.

“Where else in the country can I find a lot of people besides the agriculture show?

“Here it’s easy to get as many as 40 children in one day who want their faces painted. It is good business for me,” said a 23-year-old man only identified as Joseph.

Joseph — who is a marketing graduate — has failed to get formal employment since he completed his degree two years ago.

“The good thing is that at least I am making an honest living. It’s tough out there my brother,” he said with a sorrow-filled face.

Zimbabwe’s hosting of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) general assembly during the same week did not dampen the mood of agriculture show exhibitors and visitors alike.

“We are happy because every year we have people coming to the show either as exhibitors or visitors,” said Heather Madombwe, the Zimbabwe Agricultural Show public relations officer.

“We have not been disadvantaged by the tourism event at all,” she added.

At least 300 cattle were exhibited at this year’s agricultural show, up from 265 last year. This year’s edition of the show attracted 765 exhibitors from agriculture, services, manufacturing and other related industries.

Not to be outdone, foreign exhibitors from countries including Italy, Ghana, South Africa, Zambia, and Democratic Republic of Congo among others also made a beehive to the exhibitions grounds.

“This year we had at least seven foreign companies exhibiting here,” said Madombwe.

Among foreign companies which showcased their products were Italian agro-industrial companies that Representatives from SINT Tecnologie srl and Agro Tech S&D held several meetings with stakeholders in the agriculture sector during the show.

Indications are the new technologies that were part of the companies’ exhibition generated a lot of interest among stakeholders including government, farmer organisations and private individuals.

Charles Dadie Dago, head of the Italian business delegation, said that as first time visitors to the fair, his team’s main objective was to explore the business potential and exchange information with stakeholders in Zimbabwe’s agriculture sector.

“Our first impression is that there is a huge potential for growth through value addition and processing. There is a lot of scope for development if farmers receive the right support mechanisms — both technically and financially,” he said.

Italian companies from different sectors including energy, construction, mining, agricultural machinery, motoring and foodstuffs were part of this year’s exhibition at their country’s Embassy stand.

Italian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Stefano Moscatelli said their objective was to showcase the various goods and services that are made in Italy in order to facilitate stronger trade relations between Zimbabwe and Italy.

Some of the Italian companies that exhibited at this year’s agriculture show include Salini Costruttori, a global construction company that currently building the Tokwe-Mukorsi Dam in Masvingo province, Spodale Investments, Afrisun Marketing, Silica Mining Consumables & Agricultural Equipment (official agents for Casella Macchine Agrocole, Faresin.

Industries, Total Dairy Management and Rota Guido), Associated Tyres (dealers of Pirelli Tyres), Tarrys (official agents for Landini and Gallignani brands) and Zimoco, the Zimbabwean dealers of top motoring brands Fiat and Alfa Romeo.

Italian brands are internationally renowned for quality engineering and superior technology.

The country offers a wide range of business and commercial opportunities and contributes more than 13 percent of the European Union’s Gross Domestic Product.

 

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