The 110th Zimbabwe Agricultural Show in Harare has been provisionally set for end of October, with the authorities reducing the number of exhibitors participating in the annual event to 600, limiting visitors to 500 an hour, and enforcing high levels of social distancing and protective clothing.

Exhibition days have also been reduced to four from the traditional six, to reduce risks of Covid-19 infection.

The annual agriculture show is normally held round about the end of August.

ZAS head for programmes and public affairs, Ms Roberta Katunga, said the society was working on ensuring social distancing through limiting the number of people visiting the Exhibition Park.

“The 110th Zimbabwe Agricultural Show has provisionally been set for October 28 to 31 2020,” she said.

“The show shall be strictly a business show only with a maximum of 600 exhibitors to facilitate social distancing between exhibits.

“Business to business visits shall be limited to 500 people per hour to ensure social distancing of two metres is adhered to. Business visitors shall be restricted to visiting not more than 10 stands.”

Ms Katunga said every entrance will be equipped with a walk-in sanitiser booth, while face masks and gloves will be worn by everyone entering the show.

Temperature checks will be conducted at every entrance, while sanitiser booths shall be placed at every hall entrance and other strategic locations in the show.

“We will also be disinfecting grounds and halls four times a day,” said Ms Katunga.

“Drone surveillance shall be used to manage the show with specially marked tickets being issued to control business and visitor movement, showing how long one can stay for the show and, no vehicular movement shall be allowed in the park.”

This year’s show will be held under the theme; “Synergies for Growth: Cooperate. Collaborate. Complement”.

ZAS says the theme was important in that over 70 percent of the population depended on agriculture for survival.

“Our take is that Vision 2030 must prioritise the 1.6 million to 1.8 million rural households, some 10 million people, to uplift their socio-economic status, in a holistic manner, addressing housing, water, sanitation, infrastructure, and social services, among others,” said ZAS in its theme.

“With a focused, practical, inclusive and sustainable rural agricultural development paradigm shift, we see synergies for growth.”

An estimated 60 percent of raw materials used in the manufacturing sector originate from agriculture, so a robust manufacturing sector that is competitive in the local, regional and international markets must, of necessity, be based on a vibrant, cost-efficient, profitable and sustainable agricultural sector.

ZAS encouraged stakeholders in the agriculture and manufacturing industries to cooperate and collaborate to yield the desired synergies for growth.