“As farmers we have the destiny of our country and nation in our hands” says Dr Evelyn Nguleka, Zambia National Farmers Union President. She adds: “let us apply all the knowledge and skills to have more food we need and venture into value addition to earn incomes for ourselves. If we can move from our back row as primary producers we can shape the welfare of our agricultural industry.”
The ZNFU is the owner of the upcoming third edition of Agritech Expo, which is expected to welcome some 15 000 farming professionals, from emerging, to small holder to commercial farmers, and agri experts, and 130 exhibitors at the GART Research Centre in Chisamba from 14-16 April. Last year’s VIP visitors included Zambian President Edgar Lungu, the Vice President, Mrs Inonge Wina, as well as the Zambian and German Agri Ministers.
Biggest event on agri calendar
“Agritech Expo has become the biggest event on our agricultural calendar” says Dr Nguleka, “It’s a very critical agricultural technology and agribusiness forum, not only for Zambia but for our neighbouring countries such as Zimbabwe, DRC, Angola and Malawi. Agritech Expo has within its first two years opened up agribusiness opportunities for the above named countries in the region. Agritech Expo has also managed to attract 35+ regional and international countries.”
She adds that there are many new features that visitors can expect for this year. “Look out for our new Energy Park designed to offer you innovation and cleaner energy solutions to help you wipe away your electricity outage blues and the ever increasing costs of energy. Our extended Livestock Zone is another must-see area, as you definitely need the right stock genetics and technologies to survive climate change-induced vagaries of weather”.
She continues: “Agritech Expo will, for the first time, also feature live Centre Pivot demonstrations, a very critical feat as Zambian agriculture focuses and seeks to expand irrigated farming at all levels. The all new 4x4 Test Track is another feature that will finally help you decide which 4x4 work horse is best for your farm. We heard you and we have also extended the SME Zone to make sure we bring in as many agro SMEs as possible. This is important to us as we strive to show case the Zambian agricultural industry in totality.”
Other ZNFU milestones
According to Dr Nguleka, Agritech Expo was a major milestone for the ZNFU during 2015. She says other major 2015 ZNFU milestones included:
- the successful scaling-up of our prepaid VISA card platform to include over 241,000 GRZ's Farmer Input Support Program (FISP) beneficiaries in 13 pilot districts;
- successful lobby for inclusion of all Zambian agricultural export products into the recently signed Bilateral Trade Agreements between Zambia with DRC and Angolan;
- facilitation with other stakeholders full operationalisation of the warehouse receipt system under the Zambia Agricultural Commodities Exchange (ZAMACE);
- and sustained cordial working relationship with the Zambian Government and other key stakeholders.
Looking towards 2016, she continues: “our EU funded Agriculture Service Centres Project designed to build four modern one-stop agro-inputs and output marketing centres is another exciting project we have embarked on. The rolling out of the ZNFU core brand prepaid Visa cards to an additional 365,000 smallholder farmers under FISP in 41 districts is another exciting project that will see ZNFU facilitating financial inclusiveness to over 600,000 farmers who otherwise would have remained unbanked and unable to access financial services.”
Agri industry support
Zanaco (Zambia National Commercial Bank) has confirmed that it is returning as the exclusive diamond sponsor of Agritech Expo at the GART Research Centre in Chisamba. Other big names in the farming sector that will be there next month are AFGRI, John Deere and JCB, who are platinum sponsors, and Action Auto, Livestock Services, SARO and Zamseed who are all gold sponsors.
Agritech Expo is organised by Spintelligent, leading Cape Town-based trade exhibition and conference organiser, and the African office of Clarion Events Ltd, based in the UK.