Agritech Expo 2023: Stay ahead of the industry

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The theme of Zambias’ Agritech 2023 was “Stay Ahead Of The Industry.” The event took place from 20 to 22 April and attracted over 19 000 farmers and agricultural professionals from across the region. The Agritech Expo has become the largest business-to-business buying platform for suppliers in the country. There is a key focus on small-scale farmers, and Starke Ayres as the leading vegetable seed supplier in the country showcased their range of varieties.

This event has grown over the years and this time around a larger Aquaculture Zone was featured. The all-new site layout included an indoor exhibition area, crop trials, increased workshop zones, a drone zone, machinery displays, business lounges and many more. The Expo provides an opportunity to introduce products and services to a wide audience. With the emphasis on innovation and development, Starke Ayres showcased the role being played in the ARATIS (Accelerating Rural Access To Improved Seeds) project currently underway in Zambia. Apart from supplying seeds of superior varieties, other aspects involve training of growers on how to realise the potential of hybrids, best practices, crop diversification, health and safety, biological control and improved plant nutrition solutions. In addition to the established range of tried and tested hybrids, newcomers Lunaria cabbage, Tabitha tomato and Yakuti red onion were introduced at the event.

The Starke Ayres Zambia team spent a great deal of time and effort in preparation for this event. The objective was to create an interactive and engaging experience for farmers visiting the exhibition. One of the key features of the demonstration plot was that interested people were able to walk around the plot and interact with team members while viewing the vegetable varieties on display. Wider pathways and more open spaces than in previous years allowed easier movement and access to all parts of the plot. Seedlings of top quality were raised in good time to ensure that they would be at their best for the show. Early trellising of the tomatoes was another strategy that helped produce top results. This prevented plants from collapsing and helped reduce leaf disease incidence. It also made it much easier for visitors to appreciate all aspects of the plants fully.

The team faced several challenges during the preparation process including a breakdown in the water supply to the crops. This was overcome by bringing in a bowser and irrigating by hand. Another significant factor was the incidence of pests and diseases and this was addressed by implementing a spraying programme which included biological products suggested by key partners who were also present at the Expo. Despite these potential setbacks the team worked hard and delivered a huge success.

The Agritech Expo provided an excellent platform for farmers to interact with the Starke Ayres Zambia team, exchange knowledge and ideas and to learn about innovative, high-yielding vegetable varieties that can help boost their yields and improve their livelihoods. The team is committed to engaging with farmers, supplying not only the best possible seed solutions but also the knowledge and advice they need to succeed. The reaction from Agritech Expo 2023 proves they are achieving this goal and hearty congratulations and thanks to all who helped make it the success it undoubtedly was.

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