Mash West Agricultural Society to host ‘hybrid’ show this week

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By James Muonwa, Mashonaland West Correspondent

THE Mashonaland West Agricultural Show Society says it is all systems go as it readies to host a unique ‘hybrid’ edition of the annual exhibition, which will involve both physical and virtual displays of goods and services.

This year’s event, which was delayed due to the Covid-19-induced lockdown, would be the society’s 73rd edition since its inception and will run from 12 (Thursday) to 15 (Sunday) November at Chinhoyi Showgrounds.

The show society chairman, Godfrey Mavankeni told they were taking all precautions to curb the spread of Covid-19 during the exposition that attracts thousands of show-goers and exhibitors every year.

“The hybrid show will have different exhibiting platforms as we seek to reduce exposure to Covid-19 but at the same time add value to exhibitors. The 2020, show will include on-site displays, online exhibitions through websites, Facebook and Instagram.

“There will also be radio infomercials, live broadcasts, a farmers’ radio and onsite classes,” said Mavankeni.

The show business will run from 8am to 5pm during the three-day event.

As a Covid-19 prevention and containment measure, Mavankeni said, there will be a limited number of people manning each exhibition stand, while World Health Organisation safety guidelines will strictly be adhered to.

Show goers will be sanitised upon entry at the gate, at individual stands they visit while their temperature will also be checked, with face masks being a strict requirement.

“There will be a presence but restricted and monitored public as well as temperature checks at the gates,” Mavankeni said.

Entertainment will be limited.

Mavankeni said his society had an onerous task to drive agricultural production and, therefore, had to improvise in order for the show to go ahead despite coronavirus still lurking and a threat in the country.

“Our province is dominated by agricultural activities. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic destabilising things we needed to okay our part as the show society.

“We had to think outside the box so as to bring value to all our stakeholders including farmers,  government and the private sector.”

The show society is heeding the call by newly appointed Minister of Lands and Agriculture, Anxious Masuka as evidenced by the launch of the provincial ‘Pfumvudza’ competition, in which farmers would be rewarded for achieving bumper harvests.

In light of government’s devolution agenda, the show society is working to contribute meaningfully to building the provincial Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and also  ensure food security, Mavankeni added.