By Michael Gwarisa
THE Zimbabwean government has thrown its weight behind the newly launched National Association of Agricultural Show Societies in Zimbabwe (NAASZ) which is set to bring sanity and relevance to show societies dotted around the country.
In a speech read on his behalf, Agriculture, Mechanization and Irrigation Development minister Dr Joseph Made said the association has come at a time when government was pushing the national food and nutrition drive through various initiatives.
“My ministry is committed and is actively spearheading initiatives to ensure food and nutrition security for the nation. The ZIMASSET vision “Towards an Empowered Society and Growing Economy” and the ten point plan for economic growth by President Mugabe in his state of the national address on the 25th of August 2015 sums it up.
“Our commitment to the success of agriculture is evidenced through initiatives such as the Command agriculture in which we are expecting a bumper harvest that will increase households food security and farmer livelihoods. This will also raise income levels for our farmers and have a positive effect on the national growth rate,” said Made.
The NAASZ attracts a wide membership from show societies from all the country’s 10 provinces and is set to address the revenue side of most associations whose financial standing had taken a downturn over the years.
Zimbabwe Agricultural Society (ZAS) vice president Dr Robbie Mupawose said the new association would bring coordination and professionalism to operations of agricultural societies.
“The current macro-economic environment has seen revenue for many show societies coming down substantially. Consequently, sustaining operations of these primarily member based and member led societies has been a major challenge.
“In many instances, annual membership fees are insignificant. Corporate sponsorship is dwindling and exhibitors and show goer numbers fluctuate annually but overally are on the decline.
“Clearly, the only way of improving operational performance, containing costs and streamlining activities is to have a common platform to meet, discuss and share ideas on how to improve the collective image of shows,” said Mupawose.
The new association has 15 members.