Leather sector tipped to drive exports

Leather sector tipped to drive exports
Published: 07 May 2018
ZIMBABWE'S leather sector stands to reap increased exports for the economy from the recently launched African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), if given adequate support, according to ZimTrade.

The leather industry is among the priority sectors identified by Government as key to the growth of Zimbabwe's exports.

"The leather sector value chain players believe that, with adequate support, the sector can be turned around and ultimately contribute to sustainable exports.

"The recently launched CFTA, a market with a population of approximately one billion people and a combined GDP of more than $3.4 trillion, presents an opportunity for this sector," says ZimTrade.

As part of Government's effort to revive the sector, ZimTrade was tasked to spearhead a Rapid Results Initiative (RRI) aimed at enhancing leather value chain exports. Under the RRI, access to international expertise from PUM (Netherlands) and SES (Germany) will be facilitated, including a learning visit to Germany or India to get an appreciation of the current trends in the tanning processes.

In addition, ZimTrade pledged in its latest monthly newsletter that it will support the participation of manufacturers at regional trade exhibitions, including in South Africa and Zambia.

ZimTrade is also lobbying Treasury to remove import duties on tanning chemicals and components used in the leather sector. Companies in the sector have since been urged to approach the country's trade agency for more information on technical expertise and other export development programmes in place to develop this sector.

Following technical intervention programmes that started in 2016, ZimTrade said PUM leather sector expert, Mr Hans Akkerman, will be back in the country soon.

While focus of the interventions has been on tanneries and manufacturers of finished leather products, the agency says the upcoming visit will identify possible intervention areas across the entire leather value chain complementing work being done under the "beef and leather value chain technical assistance project", which is funded by the African Development Bank.

Over the past two years, at least 13 companies in the sector have benefited from PUM expertise on production techniques as well as designing and marketing.

"This has assisted the companies to reduce production costs and improve the quality and presentation of their products," said ZimTrade.

One of the beneficiaries, Mr Clive Chirova of Samuneti Leathers, was quoted as saying: "Working with an international expert in our production process has exposed us to new developments in our field and inspired us to adopt international best practices to become globally competitive."
- chroncile
Tags: Leather,


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