The AgriShow held at Borrowdale Racecourse from Thursday last week until Saturday was an eye opener for those who attended it for the first time, with an impressive exhibition of agricultural equipment, much of which was large modern sophisticated machinery.
The show, held by the Agricultural Dealers and Manufacturers Association (ADMA), attracted not only manufacturers of and dealers in farming equipment but many other companies that offer products and services to the agricultural sector.
Among the large exhibits was a 20 metre 30 tonne mobile agricultural laboratory designed to provide agricultural laboratory services in rural areas. The impressive laboratory was stationed at the Zimnat/THI Insurance stand.
The two companies showcased the mobile laboratory, in partnership with Santam Agriculture, a subsidiary of Sanlam, a South African company with which Zimnat is associated.
The laboratory is well equipped. All the equipment, apart from air conditioners, is run with solar power.
The laboratory truck includes a training room, which can be used for training groups of farmers and to introduce agriculture science to youths in remote areas. If the group is too large for the training room, those outside the truck can follow proceedings in the training room on two high definition televisions screens.
One of the main purposes of the mobile laboratory is to enable farmers to have soil and water tests done close to where they are, so they do not have to travel long distances to have such samples analysed. An analysis of soil samples is important for deciding on what fertiliser to use.
Zimnat General Insurance chief executive officer Stanley Mazorodze says the laboratory is intended not only to enable emerging farming businesses to do soil and water analysis but also to introduce technology to rural schoolchildren.
“The mobile laboratory enables us to bring appropriate technology to the field where it is needed most,” he said.
The Zimnat/THI stand had a rural feel to it, with bales of straw being used as seats. The two companies highlighted the agricultural insurance they offer and the benefits to be derived from the joint expertise and resources of Zimnat, Sanlam Agriculture and THI.
“THI, Zimnat and Santam Agriculture together have the resources to respond effectively to the changing insurance needs of Zimbabwean farmers and their upstream and downstream service suppliers,” Mr Mazorodze said.
There are many risks that farmers face, including variations in the weather and pest infestations that require good agricultural insurance policies, he pointed out.
Zimnat made use of its presence at the AgriShow to highlight other insurance policies that Zimnat offers, such as vehicle insurance, export credit insurance and life assurance, and the financial and asset management services provided by Zimnat Financial Services.