By KENNEDY MUPESENI –
THE Copperbelt Mining, Agriculture and Commercial Show (CMACS) has today opened its doors to the general public.
Companies ready to take part in this year’s event were found bust making final touches on their various stands.
A check on some stands indicated readiness by companies to participate in the show looking at various activities such as painting and refurbishing stands.
At Zambia National Service (ZNS) stand, products such as hammer mills and a fully grown garden were already in place.
Saro Agro Limited stand looked set with various products such as tractors, planters and hammer mills among others were already on display.
Painters were found busy with paintings and most of them interviewed expressed delight about the booming painting business as most of the clients are still using the manual painting compared to digital painting which deprive painters business.
Peter Mukuka who was doing final touches to paintings of Mamas Foods in the show says business was booming.
“We thought that with the coming of the digital painting, we will be out of the business but we have continued gaining business,” he said.
Ministry of Agriculture practical instructor Benjamin Kayama who was found inspecting the ministry says this year’s show would be interesting.
“Famers should ensure that they pass through our stand ,we will be showcasing a lot of products and services,it is time farmers started running farming as a business,” Mr Kayama says.
About 122 local and international companies are attending the show despite the operational challenges companies have been facing as a result of low commodity prices on the international market.
This year’s theme is “Innovation and Diversity-the Answer to the Copper and Energy Challenges.”
The theme was arrived at, to aggressively respond to the energy and copper crisis the country was facing.
President Edgar Lungu is expected to grace this year’s show.
Incoming show Chairperson London Mwafulilwa said this year’s show had attracted 102 commercial and 20 foreign exhibitors a clear, indication that economic activity was headed for a boom.
Mr Mwafulilwa says that he was happy that President Lungu agreed to officiate at the show and indicated that he wanted to spend more time during his tour of tour.
Mr Mwafulilwa who is taking over from Bill Osborn who held the position for 28 years says his team was committed to continue carrying the vision of the society and make it viable.
He says a five year strategic plan has since been outlined which would assist in improving access to the show ground, improvement of facilities, catering road infrastructure and road network which is key.
He, however, was happy following a discussion with President Lungu and Road Development (RDA) an agreement has been reached to include the show infrastructure under the C400.
Mr Osborn is hopeful that the mining and agriculture industry can contribute to the country’s development.
He says the show has the capacity to become a vibrant and lucrative business venture on the Copperbelt but that can only be achieved by investing in infrastructure to make it an attractive business facility that can have exhibitions all year round.
Mr Osborn says the organisation has come up with a long term redevelopment plan for the show ground in Kitwe which will gobble more than US$10 million.
The redevelopment will include overhauling most infrastructures, constructing a hotel and modern exhibition arena among others.
“The showground lack most facilities which hinders attraction of more exhibitors, that is why we have come up with a robust programme to redevelop the show by including other modern facilities such as hotels, modern exhibition arena and banks among others,” Mr Osborn says.
He says Copperbelt and the country as whole had massive potential which needed to be showcased.
However, Mr Osborn said to attract foreign and local exhibitors, there was need for necessary infrastructure.
In the short term the organisation wants to resolve the road infrastructure challenge, executive has engaged Government on the need to improve road infrastructure in the show ground as this year’s show approaches.
“We have engaged Government on the need to improve road infrastructure in the show, as you know most roads in the show are not in good state,” he says.
Such gatherings and interactions are more than needed in the country to find solutions to the challenges facing the country and the world in general.