Desmond Munemo, H-Metro Reporter
The annual Zimbabwe Agricultural Show (ZAS) held in August is off the calendar this year amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
ZAS is celebrating its 125th anniversary and this time of the year is normally witnessed by long queues and traffic at the Exhibition Park in Harare as a considerable number of families and companies throng the venue for an intriguing time of the year.
In an interview, ZAS head of programmes and public affairs, Roberta Katunga said ZAS had lined up virtual programmes for businesses.
“The month of August has traditionally been known as the Show month for the Zimbabwe Agricultural Society, due to the Zimbabwe Agricultural Show, an event that both exhibitors and show goers always have marked on their calendars and look forward to annually.
“However, 2020, a year in which ZAS is celebrating its 125th anniversary, has thus far proved to be different, largely due to the global Covid-19 pandemic that has led to a suspension on public gatherings and events.
“For agriculturalists, August is a significant month as a precursor to preparations for the upcoming agricultural season.
“Discussions held in August mainly focus on the state of preparedness by input suppliers and financers,” said Katunga.
“Although, the Zimbabwe Agricultural Show has provisionally been postponed to a later date, three main events have been scheduled for the month of August.
“September 18 is set for the Second Zimbabwe Agricultural Sector Survey Virtual Launch.
“The Zimbabwe Agricultural Society in partnership with Financial Gazette shall be launching the second edition of the Zimbabwe Agricultural Sector Survey under the theme ‘Production, Productivity and Profitability.
“The motivation of the survey, according to ZAS, is a combination of the desire to complement government efforts geared towards reviving agriculture, and the need for initiating and sustaining a culture of fact-based farming, fact-based policy making and fact-based investments.”
ZAS is today having an 8th Annual National Agribusiness Conference in partnership with the National Economic Consultative Forum shall be hosting the event.
ZAS Chief Executive Officer, Dr Anxious Masuka said agriculture’s contribution to the Zimbabwean economy is well documented, but the country remained food insecure due to successive droughts and low production and low productivity.
“The outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has disrupted supply and demand and disrupted agro-supply chains due to pandemic- induced lockdowns globally. This has led to loss of income and disrupted livelihoods of farmers, especially women and youth,” said Dr Masuka.
On August 28, the Zimbabwe Agricultural Society shall be hosting the second edition of the Zimbabwe Agricultural Media Awards whose objective is to celebrate and capacitate media to report on agricultural Issues.
Dr Masuka said the ZAS was committed to promoting capacitation of the media to enhance quality of reportage for the benefit of the agriculture sector stakeholders.
Below is a full list of the awards for which journalists shall be competing for:
- Tobacco Sector Best Reporter Award
- Cotton Sector Best Reporter Award
- Wheat and Cereals Sector Best Reporter Award
- Sugarcane Sector Best reporter award
- Oilseeds Sector Best Reporter Award
- Small Grains Sector Best Reporter Award
- Dairy Sector Best Reporter Award
- Beef Sector Best Reporter Award
- Small Ruminants Sector Best Reporter Award
- Poultry Sector Best Reporter Award
- Agriculture Finance and Development Best Reporter Award
- Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change Best Reporter Award
- Agricultural Equipment, Mechanisation, Irrigation, Storage and Innovation Best Reporter Award
- Horticulture Best Reporter Award
- Overall Agricultural Sector Best Reporter Award