THE 2019 Bulawayo Agricultural Show has suffered a 20 percent drop in participation compared to last year as a result of drought conditions experienced in the 2018/19 season, an official said.
The annual agricultural exhibition was held concurrently with the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF).
In an interview Bulawayo Agricultural Society (BAS) administrative officer, Natalie Adlam, said the prevailing El-Nino-induced drought this season has affected the number of crop exhibitors at this year’s show.
“We have nine groups that were exhibiting crops this year from Tsholotsho, Nkayi, Gwanda, Bubi and Insiza Districts. Individual entries are 1 153 and commercial entries are 17. This represents a 20 percent drop in agricultural exhibitions from last year,” she said.
Adlam said the cattle segment maintained positive trend in the fat stock section, with the exhibition of pedigrees having improved by 33 percent from 2018.
“We’re excited that we recorded a 100 percent increase in sheep and goat exhibitions from last year’s entries. We had a total of 33 sheep and 58 goats.
“In poultry, a total of 140 birds have been entered while 652 Home Industries exhibitions exhibited. The bulk of the entries were from schools in the arts and crafts section,” said Mrs Adlam.
She said fat stock cattle were being exhibited by Azondo Investments, Aisleby Farm, Marcedale Farm, Biano Farm, BD Brahmans and one individual farmer. Pedigree cattle, she added, were being exhibited by Matopo Research
Station, Khami Prisons, Esigodini Agricultural College, Biano Farm, Caman Brahmans and an individual farmer.
Adlam said farmers were excited about the exhibitions adding that the public will definitely learn a lot this year.
“Space has been a challenge in 2019. We have many more companies requesting to exhibit in our arena but can’t due to unavailability of space,” said Adlam.
Livestock exhibitions and cattle sales at the ZITF resumed in 2017 after being suspended for two years at the height of a foot and mouth outbreak, which threatened to wipe the national
Government, through the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement has been working with farmers to nurture the sector as well as to build and support industry by facilitating desirable partnerships and linkages.