By KENNEDY MUPESENI -
TRADE expositions are critical platforms to showcase product and service innovations aimed at broadening business horizons in any country.
The Copperbelt, Mining,Agricultural, Industrial and Networking Exhibition (CAMINEX) which is spearheaded by Copperbelt Agriculture, Mining and Commercial Show Society (CACSS) and Specialized Exhibitions Limited of South Africa in Kitwe is a such platform .
The show, which this year took place from June 6 to 8, is well positioned to provide a platform and stimulate businesses in various sectors across the Copperbelt.
About 150 companies from 11 countries exhibited at the Copperbelt centerpiece from diversified sectors such as mining, construction, agriculture and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) among other critical sectors.
Livestock which ranged from big to small ruminants, was on display at the relevant section where traders and marketeers also had fair shares of the annual exhibition.
Previously, the Copperbelt Agriculture, Mining and Commercial Show and Copperbelt Mining and Trade Expo (CBM-TEC) used to take place at different dates but an understanding was reached earlier this year to combine efforts.
This has culminated into holding the first-ever joint show dubbed CAMINEX with the theme, “Adding Value –The Home Grown Solution”.
Officially opening the show, President Edgar Lungu said Government will continue staking the agriculture sector at the core plan of sustainable value addition.
Mr Lungu says Government takes cognizance that for agriculture to have a positive impact on the livelihood, there is need for increased value addition.
“The Patriotic Front (PF) Government is resolved to making the agriculture sector the mainstay of the country’s economy. This is because the majority of Zambians depend on the sector for their livelihoods and it is only fair that this sector becomes the mainstay,” the President said this in a speech read for him by Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe.
Mr Lungu commends the initiative by organisers saying the move has created a platform for cross industry interactions in key sectors such as mining, agriculture and manufacturing.
Mining has the potential to catalyze industrialisation and wealth creation through improved upstream, downstream and side stream linkages that the sector presents.
On the sidelines of the show the Ministries of Mines and Minerals Development, Agriculture, the Fisheries and Livestock among others participated in the show.
Others who presented papers included the Zambia Chamber of Mines, Zambia Environmental Management Agency, the Engineering Institution of Zambia, the Department of Trade and Industry of South Africa.
In addition to the free-to-attend seminar series, visitors had opportunities to engage with over 150 local and international exhibitors representing the mining, industrial, agricultural and financial sectors.
Live demonstrations, conversations with technical experts on the stands and interaction with seminar speakers enabled visitors to tap into an extensive pool of knowledge.
In a presentation on Zambia mineral market outlook, Mines and Mineral Development Minister Christopher Yaluma was worried that only one per cent of the overall copper production in Zambia is utilised in the local manufacturing sector.
This calls for more investments in value addition activities.
Mr Yaluma says the country offers vast opportunities in utilising mineral resources in creating an industrial base for the manufacturing sector.
The Government is also worried that despite having immense potential, the gemstone sector lacked lapidary industries hence the need to increase investments in the sector.
“Currently only one small lapidary exist. Cut and polished gemstones would significantly contribute to export earnings and employment generation as they fetch a higher price thereby creating more job opportunities than unprocessed,” Mr Yaluma says.
As for Agriculture Minister Dora Siliya, improved land use can help the country enhance productivity and augment household incomes in the nation.
She says compared to countries such as South Africa and others in South America, Zambians can produce more yields from the same amount of land than what they are realising now because those countries have adopted more efficient farming methods.
She says as long as productivity does not improve, issues of export bans will continue grappling Zambians.
Ms Siliya says despite 70 per cent of Zambians being involved in some form of agricultural activity, the sector only contributes about nine per cent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
She says this needs to be resolved because it simply shows that are people sharing in poverty instead of wealth.
The first step in solving the above paradigm is to promote a mindset change among farmers and the citizenry at large to treat agriculture as a business and not as a mere way of life for the poor and retired civil servants.
“Agriculture should not be treated as a mere way of life for the poor. It is a business that should help improve incomes and earnings not just at household level but also at national level,” she says.
Zambia Railways Limited impressed judges and was awarded overall best exhibitor with Zambia National Services (ZNS), BancABC and Finance Bank Zambia part of Atlas Mara standing out as they got majority of prizes in different categories.
Other exhibitors who received prizes were Kululushi Clay Bricks who got the chairperon’s award after the chairperson was impressed with the products the company manufactured.
The company specializes in manufacturing of clay bricks which are used in construction and beautifying different facilities.
Other exhibitors who walked away with prizes are Zambia Revenue Authority, Zambia Correctional Services and Hybrid Poultry Farm among others.
Giving an overview of the show CACSS chairperson London Mwafulilwa encouraged the exhibitors to continue marketing their products and services even as the expo came to a close.
“We already have the dates for next year’s exhibition and it will be held from the from 5 to June 7, 2018, we are here to create a platform to showcase your products and service and without you this show would not be a success,” he says.
Mr Mwafulilwa assures potential exhibitors that the show will continue being a platform to share ideas on various sectors of the economy.
The combination of international and local exhibition leverage will definitely make CAMINEX sure way innovation and knowledge exchange to catapult economic development.