THE return of the livestock exhibition is a boost for the Bulawayo Agricultural Show with farmers being called on to participate at this year’s Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) and take advantage of the expo to penetrate the export market.

This year’s Trade Fair which will run concurrently with the Bulawayo Agricultural Show will be held from April 25 to 29 under the theme, “Harnessing Linkages for Industrial Development”.

Livestock exhibitions and cattle sales were suspended in Bulawayo two years ago at the height of a foot and mouth outbreak, which threatened to wipe the national herd. ZITF cattle sales, however, remain suspended.

The ZITF, which is in its 58th year running, is an annual event organised by the ZITF Company.

The Government through the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development has been working with farmers to nurture the sector as well as to build and support industry by facilitating desirable partnerships and linkages.

“The Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development responsible for livestock, Paddy Zhanda, has given assurance and support to farmers during their preparations for the show especially livestock farmers,” ZITF Company board chair Mrs Ruth Ncube said recently.

“Deputy Minister Zhanda has called on farmers to take advantage of this platform to showcase their livestock and agricultural produce as the country is in transition to extract full benefits from this sector through exporting.

“To further profile the agriculture sector as always, ZITF 2017 will run concurrently with the Bulawayo Agriculture Show from April 25 to 29.”

The agriculture event features all forms of livestock (cattle, sheep and goats, horses, poultry and pigs), crop produce from both commercial and communal farmers (inclusive of maize, small grains and cereals as well as fruits and vegetables) and home industries (incorporating needlework, knitting, crochet, cookery, icing, brewing, home-craft and artwork).

The Government has also urged livestock farmers to work closely with their veterinary officers as they seek clearance letters for their livestock and other requisites to enable smooth participation in the show.

Some of the countries participating at ZITF 2017 include Botswana, China, Iran, Japan, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Turkey while Ethiopia, India and the United Arab Emirates.

This year’s Trade Fair continues to be premised on industrialisation and goes a step further by encouraging participants to collaborate locally and globally as the country moves towards sustained economic industrial development.

In this light, this year’s international trade showcase features sectors such as agriculture, construction and infrastructure development (energy, road, rail, water and sanitation), education, professional and entrepreneurial development, information, communication technologies, manufacturing, mining and tourism.

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