Zas expands mandate

HARARE - The Zimbabwe Agricultural Society (Zas) is expanding its mandate to include meetings, incentives, conventions and events (MICE), as the organisation transforms itself to play a part in turning around the country’s economy.

Anxious Masuka, the Society’s chief executive, told the Financial Gazette last week that agricultural societies the world over are transforming from the provision of annual shows only to multi-purpose year-long events.

“As Zas we intend to provide commercial services such as offices, hotels, fuel stations, and institutional services such as agricultural training, and industrial services, and leisure and recreational services,” he said.

The latest development comes at a time when Zas has been granted a greenlight by Harare City Council to set up a $100 million hotel and convention centre at the Exhibition grounds.

Masuka said these developments should ensure that the exhibition park is transformed into a lively business hub operating for 365 days in a year compared to the current situation where it only hosts the annual one-week agricultural show in August.

“This transformation will change, not only the business hub, but also the city of Harare, which will have over $120 million investment,” he said.

Zas is currently constructing a $18 million shopping mall and a $2 million fuel service station to cater for show goers.

Masuka indicated that the projects will create additional revenue for the society to ensure financial sustainability and contribute to employment creation, as these projects are estimated to create more than 500 jobs.

“The projects should also increase local government revenues and fiscal inflows and enhance societal value through multiplier effects and forward and backward linkages.

“With such improvements, and working together, the Zimbabwe Agricultural Society can only become an even bigger and enviable centre for the facilitation of national agricultural development,” he said.

ZAS, which was established in 1895 and operates as voluntary member-based organisation, transitioned from a show theme to an annual theme in 2015 to rally additional support for the cause of accelerated agricultural development.

This transition has afforded the organisation and other like-mined stakeholders, an opportunity to periodically discuss various pertinent aspects of the value chain relevant to the theme under its now popular Leadership for Enhanced Agricultural Development Series (LEADS).

LEADS has become a platform that uses a value chain approach to bring key stakeholders to interrogate, highlight, discuss, distil, synthesise and communicate practical policy interventions for the advancement of agriculture. — The Financial Gazette

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