Harare Show: exhibitors disappointed

Hopes that the agricultural industry is on the rebound were dashed at the recent Harare Agricultural Show, where exhibitors reported very little demand for machinery and implements. Save for a few companies like the Zimbabwe National Road Authority, who were happy for they had seized the opportunity to defend their licensing regime, most exhibitors said they had incurred losses during the show.

“We brought many boom sprayers, tractors, combine harvesters, caterpillars and graders from our workshop expecting brisk business. But only one tractor and one boom sprayer were bought in the whole week. We lost a lot on fuel,” said a disgruntled marketer from a local farm machinery supply companies.

“The government was our biggest customer during (Reserve Bank governor) Gono’s farm mechanisation drive. Our parent company is in Asia and we set up base here in anticipation of brisk business in the agricultural revolutionary era that Gono and his paymasters talked about. We have realised we made a wrong move,” added the exhibitor, who declined to be named.

Even small agricultural implements like knap-sack sprayers had no takers this year. “We see no use in buying knap-sack sprayers for resale in Gokwe as we used to do in the past because cotton fetched prices very low prices and we cannot recover our initial investment,” said Revayi Masuka from Gokwe.

Despite the rampant power outages companies selling solar panels and generators also said they had very low business this year.

“While others blamed the poor timing of the show as the cause for the low business activity, we believe there was much publicity prior to the show for people to plan in advance. Yes, most people might not have accessed their salaries by that time but business was very good in the past,” said a dealer in generators based in Msasa.

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