Agritech Expo Returns to Chisamba in April as ZNFU Continues the Legacy of Agri-Business Event

Chisamba, Zambia, February 07, 2015 --( “This year, our aim is to make Agritech bigger, stronger and real. We have increased the exhibition space. We have also dedicated one of the three days as a focus day for commercial and emerging commercial farmers.” This is how Dr Evelyn Nguleka, President of the Zambia National Farmers Union, describes the next Agritech Expo that is taking place again from 16-18 April in Chisamba, following the hugely successful launch of the event last year.

The ZNFU is the owner and host of Agritech Expo. According to Dr Nguleka the response to the event last year was: “fantastic! It was by far more than anticipated. All major agricultural stakeholders from our small scale to large and corporate farmers, and our agribusiness firms embraced the Agritech wholeheartedly, thus their overwhelming turn out and participation.”

Some facts about last year’s landmark event:
- 8000 farmers and agri professionals attended the expo and conference.
- VIPs: Zambian Vice-President Dr Guy Scott, the Minister of Livestock and Agriculture, the Honourable Minister Wylbur Simuusa, and former Zambian President Ruphia B. Banda.
- 69 exhibitors displayed the latest technology in farming and post-harvest
- 23 hectares expo site including crop trials.
- 100 journalists covered the event – echoing the huge pre-event interest around the country.
- 40 exhibitors from the country’s leading poultry event, the Zambia Poultry Expo, also joined the event.

Agritech as networking platform
This year, Dr Nguleka says “we would like Agritech 2015 to be even better. We saw from the over-subscription last year that this is what the farming community needs. We would like to build on last year’s successes and make this event one that farmers and other agri-business players will always be looking forward to.”

She explains that they were not only surprised by the number of visitors but also by the fact that “Agritech has proven itself not only as networking platform, but a unique and targeted business platform, where actual sales happen. We therefore want to see exhibitors and participants to this time around come in ready to transact, i.e. sell and buy.” She adds: “Never before have we had sales of over a million USD at an agricultural show. This only goes to prove the huge business potential associated with Agritech.” She notes, however, that the lack of ATM and POS units at the show by banks means that banks lost out on business.

New features and opportunities at Agritech Expo 2015:
- Expo extended from two to three days
- VIP business area
- Sprayer arena of 14000m²
- Livestock equipment section
- Zambian SME village

Government support
During Agritech 2014, the ZNFU was “Amazed at how much support we got from the government,” says Dr Nguleka. “The then Vice President of the Republic of Zambia was on hand to grace the occasion, accompanied by several government officials. We would like this kind of government support to continue. Also, when there are issues to sort out, we would like the government to lend us an ear. We need to be able to generate and drive agricultural policy together.”

ZNFU focus for 2015
According to Dr Nguleka, the Union has continued to innovate and diversify services and support initiatives for its members. In 2015 their focus will be on:

- Popularizing the recently-launched ZNFU prepaid visa to all members and stakeholders as a smart inputs access and payment solution;
- Increasing the number of smallholder farmers accessing inputs and asset finance from the ongoing Lima Scheme, Bunjimi Asset Plus Scheme and other upcoming inputs and asset schemes with partners they are piloting and/or about to launch,
- Developing more Agricultural Service Centres as one-stop centres for inputs, machinery/equipment, and commodity marketing platforms, and
- Facilitating ZNFU members’ access to title deeds of their land.

“It should be Zambia”
The ZNFU President’s vision for agri in the country remains that of Zambia as the bread basket of the region. She explains: “At the moment, Zambia is the only country that is self-sufficient on wheat production. We would like to strengthen this position and continue to make Zambia relevant in the region in as far as agriculture is concerned. Zambia is surrounded by eight neighbours who are a potential market for agricultural produce. Our vision is that, when the region thinks of food, it should think Zambia.”

Agritech Expo is organised by Spintelligent, leading Cape Town-based trade exhibition and conference organiser, and the African office of Clarion Events Ltd, based in the UK.

Agritech Expo dates and location:
The expo days are planned with the following audiences in mind:
16 April, Thursday: large scale, commercial farmers, emerging large scale farmers, VIPs, media, government, industry stake holders
17 April, Friday: Small scale farmers, emerging farmers.
18 April, Saturday: small scale farmers, emerging farmers and other interested visitors.
Location: GART Centre, Chisamba, Zambia
Agritech Expo
Annemarie Roodbol