Attendance at the 102nd Harare Agricultural Show declined by 40 percent from last year with about 100 000 people passing through the gates during the show period. While many parents were more reluctant to take families after the disappearance and suspected murder of a child last year, accounting for a large part of the decline, Zimbabwe Agricultural Society public relations manager Mrs Heather Madombwe yesterday attributed the decline to changes in dates.
“There was a sharp decline which we are attributing to the dates. Most people get paid at the end of the month and it means during the time we held our show, most people did not have excess resources.”
She said there was need for the Show Society to change the dates.
“We need to play around with the dates and bring them to the end of the month because that is when most people would have been paid,” she said.
The society charged adults $5 while children paid $1 to enter the exhibition park. Mrs Madombwe, however, said the show was a re-sounding success despite the low turnout.
“We are happy that at least people came and we are also satisfied by the results. Moreover, we had a minimum number of criminal incidents and lost children except minor cases. In all the cases, lost children were quick to reunite with their parents and guardians. This was as a result of our beefed up security,” she said.
This year ZAS had a surveillance system, the Closed Circuit Television (CCTV), monitoring criminal activities. This followed the disappearance of Gift Matapure last year at the Exhibition Park.
His remains were found at the same venue a few months after he disappeared. Mrs Madombwe said the Amusement Park would be open through out the year at the Exhibition Park.
“Those still in possession of tickets which they should have used during the show should come and use them. We will open from 10:30 am to 6 pm,” she said.
The show attracted more than 700 exhibitors. They also included foreign exhibitors from Italy, South Africa, China and Namibia.
Speaking during the official opening last Friday, ZAS president Dr Dobbie Mupawose said exhibitors in the agricultural produce and livestock sections had improved tremendously.
“The show is supposed to be a learning experience for exhibitors and it is clear that this leaning experience is bearing fruit.
“They (exhibitors) have embraced the idea of competition and have improved the quality,” he said.
Dr Mupawose paid tribute to foreign exhibitors saying it showed Zimbabwe had a huge potential to grow economically. “We look forward to further interest from international organisations.
“Zimbabwe is a great destination. As a Society we are actively investigating the promotion of renewable energy and we have encouraged exhibits from organizations that are oriented towards renewable energy," he said. Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Zimbabwe Prison Services and Premier Services Medial Aid Society dominated the ZAS awards for commercial stands winners.
THE ZDF represented by General Constantine Chiwenga won best stand exhibit by the Zimbabwe Security Services and the best exhibit by a Government, municipal or statutory body involved in manufacturing, producing or marketing services.
ZPS commissioner Rtd Major General Paradzai Zimondi was also urged to lock all criminals by Guest Of Honour Lesotho Prime Minister Thomas Thabane after collecting the Best Product and Service Marketing award and the best overall exhibit.
PSMAS group public relations executive Ms Mavis Gumbo and her entourage of officers Mr Arthur Choga and Mrs Sarah Muchinenyika collected two trophies.
The group won the ZNCC small commercial exhibitor and the best exhibit in the healthcare section.
Several other exhibitors including individuals also collected a variety of prizes during the official opening ceremony on Friday last week.