Zambia has been gearing up to host the inaugural Agritech Expo in Chisamba from 4-5 April 2014
Rob Turner, director of agricultural value chains for USAID's Southern Africa Trade Hub (SATH), said the event would be an "all-encompassing professional, outdoor agricultural trade exhibition" that will bring together regional and international agricultural products and service providers.
Turner added that the exhibition would showcase some of the world's leading companies in seed production, agrochemicals, irrigation, farm machinery, livestock management, financial services, insurance and agricultural commodities.
Agritech Expo is also expected to feature live crop trials and product demonstrations, including a machinery area where attendees can observe and "test-drive" the latest equipment.
It has also been reported that the expo was the result of the vision and dedicated efforts of the Zambian National Farmer Union (ZNFU), the Golden Valley Agricultural Research Trust (GART), Musika Zambia Limited and events firm Spintelligent.
SATH described Zambia as a nation on the rise, with an economy projected to be one of the fastest growing in the world. Critical to this growth is Zambia's booming agriculture sector, which accounts for 35 per cent of the nation's GDP and equates to approximately US$4.5bn in real money.
The expansion of small-scale farming and the development of emerging and commercial farms have been key contributors to the growth of the agriculture sector. As a result, international companies have been heading to Zambia to take advantage of and contribute towards the opportunity in this developing new agricultural hub.
USAID's Southern Africa Trade Hub said it viewed the exhibition as an opportunity to support Zambian agricultural development. In addition, the Trade Hub said it would leverage the event as a resource for neighbouring countries also working to develop more productive and efficient emerging commercial farming sectors.
To support its aims, the Trade Hub has provided a US$100,000 Strategic Partnership grant to the event to expand its regional reach and impact by incorporating Malawi and Mozambique. Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia form the make up of the US government's Feed the Future focal countries in the southern Africa region.
According to SATH, the grant will partially subsidise attendance for up to 50 emerging commercial farmers and agribusiness suppliers from across the region, as well as provide targeted buyer-seller matching for supported attendees. It will also go towards partially subsidising exhibitor fees for up to 10 indigenous SME agricultural technology companies from across the region, as well as support a range of on-site technical and management workshops provided free-of-charge to expo attendees.
Technologies and industry sectors to be represented at the event include seeds, fertilisers, irrigation, storage and ICT.