By JUDITH NAMUTOWE –
MORE than 11,000 visitors and 100 exhibitors are expected at this year’s Agritech Expo in which the hosts have invested US$500,000.
This is as compared to the US$400,000 spent on the event last year.
The event which will run from April 16 to 18 at Golden Agricultural Research Trust (GART) in Chisamba offers a range of free, practical workshop to assist farmers in the use of latest technologies to improve their productive capacity and become more competitive.
The event which is run by the Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) and organised by Spintelligent has this year grown to the space of 33 hectares from 17 hectares in 2014.
Speaking during the ZNFU media briefing in Lusaka, Spintelligent portfolio director Emmanuelle Nicholls said the organiser was building on the infrastructure that had already been built.
Ms Nicholls said the organisers and partners were investing more in the agriculture sector to make Zambia a hub after South Africa.
“We have this year spent about half a million dollars worth of costs, when we compare to last year. We are also expecting about 11,000 visitors compared to last year’s 8,000 with more than a 100 exhibitors,” she said.
GART chairperson Namukolo Mukutu said the organisations’ intention this year was to get ZNFU address the many challenges farmers are faced with when it comes to modern farming.
Mr Mukutu said there was need to train farmers in mechanisation to enable them improve on their productivity.
Musika Development Initiative Zambia managing director Rueben Banda noted that access to information and improved technology aimed at assisting farmers raise productivity was one of the major challenges farmers were facing in Zambia.
Mr Banda said the organisation had this year approved US$96,000 for construction of livestock centre at the exhibition centre, which would act as an auction centre throughout the year.
Mr Banda said the construction was already underway.
Meanwhile, 20,000 farmers are this year expected to benefit from NWK’s electronic payment mobile system.
An estimated 15,000 farmers have already signed up to MTN Mobile Money and received their mobile phones from the targeted 49 sheds.