By Mwakwaya Raymond
Agricultural Society of Kenya has sparked controversy over its decision to change the Mombasa International Show dates from the conventional August to September.
Many an exhibitors are not for it over uncertainties of being guaranteed adequate showgoers if there is change of dates.
However, the ASK officials are optimistic the move, in their own wisdom, could attract more showgoers with exhibitors pessimistic on matter business.
ASK chairperson Mombasa branch Anisa Abdallah said the change of show dates was arrived at after a thorough consultations with all relevant stakeholders.
According to her the move of dates was done in good faith and was meant to accommodate school going children who happen to form a large number of the show enthusiasts.
She is of the views this will avail ample time and space to school or college going students to learn much about agriculture and its associates.
‘You will remember that the president is always encouraging Kenyans to take up agriculture seriously that’s why government invested immensely in farm inputs thus we cannot deny students a chance to learn much on Agriculture from this show,” she said in a media.
For years, the international ASK show has been held on August to capitalise on students’ holidays given that September The show found them in learning institutions for Third Term session.
“We normally hold our Mombasa International Show at the tail end of August but this year we’ve moved it to the first week of September 06 to 10 2023 so as to allow students to attend and learn more about Agriculture.”
In this year’s exhibitors’ forum saw ASK officials bring to speed on their preparations for the show precipitating reactions from a section of them expressing their concerns on the event’s change of dates fearing it could have a negative impact on their various establishments.
However, ASK officials discounted their fears assuring them of good returns for their businesses this year.
Betty Msea of the small micro enterprises (SME’s) department expressed fears the change of dates could backfire on the businesses.
According to her the exhibitors may record dismal returns if adequate research is not done to handle lingering doubts over ASK’s move.
This year’s show has attracted new exhibitors who have indicated great interest in showcasing their various ptoducts and services.
Automobile Vehicle Assembly (AVA) of Kenya which had exited ASK Show for over ten years has now announced it will come back to participate.
Jacklin Amunga says the company has ventured into the Blue Economy sector and will showcase its marine equipment.
“Apart from the normal business that we always do we’ve now gone a notch higher and we shall be showcasing Marine equipment under the Blue Economy.”
She added that since the government embraced Blue Economy their company has cooperated with the government and other stakeholders to boost related businesses.
Another newcomer, in this year’s show, is the GoBlue under the Jumuiya ya Kaunti za Pwani (JKP).
GoBlue official who sort anonymity says the organization will soon hit the ground running in a big way.
Adds that they won’t take any chance in this year’s show as they plan to win several awards.
‘Wev’e never done this before and be rest assured that it will shock many of you cause we are coming in big time.”
ASK chief executive officer Batram Muthoka outlined this year’s theme as Promoting Climate Smart Agriculture and Trade Initiative for sustainable Economic Growth saying it goes hand in hand with the government’s plan in developing farming and trade.
The CEO says already some International players have shown interest to exhibit in this year’s Mombasa show.
“A cement company from Paris is ready and will be exhibiting in this year’s show among other international companies,” adds CEO.
He adds that they are targeting about 300 exhibitors with at least 250,000 show goers this year.
Last year over 200 exhibitors took part in show.