THE majority of businesses and vendors at the Harare Agricultural Show that ended last week Saturday were left counting their losses due to depressed numbers of visitors who came to this year’s edition of the more than 100 years old show.
The show has been the highlight of Harare’s fairs for the past century and used to be a must do on the calendars of many families, with many coming from towns surrounding the capital or even Bulawayo.
However, the deteriorating economic condition characterised by cash shortages, skyrocketing prices of basic commodities and stagnant salaries poured a damp on the famous show.
Vendors and businesses that participated in the just-ended show told the ZimSentinel that they were left counting their losses.
A vendor, Admire Chirefu said the low attendances on show days greatly affected his business compared to previous events.
“I made a huge this year. Previously, I used to earned between $600 and $1 000 a day but this year was a nightmare,” Chirefu said.
A face painter, Tinashe Bore, said his business took a knock because many people did not manage to come due to exorbitant entrance fees. The event organisers did not inform people adequately when the fee was reduced to $10..
“My business was not viable because many people did not manage to come due to high registration fee. The registration for was going for $30, which many ordinary people cannot afford due to cash crisis in our county and show organisers did not inform people when the registration fee was reduced’’ said Bore.
It was not only vendors who took a hit, as even big brands like Chicken Inn which used to earn $45 000 per day previously, recorded low sales reflecting the biting economic crisis.
Chicken Inn salesman, Tinashe Zvirahwa told ZimSentinel: “Previously we used to earn $45 000 per day, but this year we were ranging from $3 000 to – $20 000 per day. We used to sell our products right through the show week, but this year we sold our products on Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.”
The losses were not limited those who had food stalls, but even seed companies.
AGRI Seed sales and marketing officer, Tafadzwa Masuka said they did not record any high sales as the people complained of the product prices and cash shortages.
“This year, we did not earn much as we expected because people were failing to adjust to our prices because of hyperinflation in the country. For example 25kg of ZAP Maize seed is going for $504 while the 10kg bag is retailing at $240 and many people cannot afford that” he said
Zimbabwe Agriculture Society marketing manager Cynthia Tapera was not immediately available for comment on the statistics of attendance. Her mobile phone was unreachable.
However, those who came pleaded that ZAS should in future make the attending the show affordable to the majority and that large crowds could bring back the sparkle to the national event.
By Success Majaramhepo