The cabinet approved the Zimbabwe Leather Sector Strategy: 2021-2030 which is expected to increase the export of leather products from 10% of production to 40% according to information revealed by Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa yesterday.
The latest strategy which is a successor to the Leather Sector Strategy (2012-2017) seeks to increase the overall competitiveness of the leather value chain in Zimbabwe and enhance access to both local and export markets for the finished products.
“Cabinet noted that the objectives of the strategy are to increase capacity utilisation of value-added products from 30% to 75% by the end of 2030; to enhance the application of sustainable production technologies by manufacturing companies from the current 10% to 60% by 2030; to increase the export of leather products from 10% of production to 40%; and to lobby for the development and reform of 70% of the identified policies and legal frameworks for the transformation of the sector by 2030,” Mutsvangwa said.
“The strategy will prioritise increased investments in industry, with emphasis on value addition and beneficiation of agricultural produce to promote export-led industrialisation as well as increase employment opportunities.”
Zimbabwe’s cabinet approves the latest strategy at a time when the leather sector is struggling to access working capital to improve operations.
TANNERS Footwear Leather Manufacturers of Zimbabwe (TAFLZ) Mr Arnold Britten is quoted in the local press early this year stating that the continuous shortage of foreign currency has made things even worse for the industry.
Britten is quoted saying “What they can afford to buy is at a higher premium as they have to source the money from the black market in order to keep the business going, so obviously you are getting a premium from that money, that’s falling into all the products … that’s why you find the shoes are expensive in the shops than the other (imported) shoes although they are made locally that’s because of all those premiums.”
“Retailers don’t pay you cash on delivery. They pay you in 30 to 60 days. So, we all know the economy is not stable, so you have to buffer in as well to say in 60 days roughly what will I get to retain the same value so your price gets ballooned again and that’s really killing the industry.”
Mutsvangwa told journalists yesterday that the strategies to be employed, in the Zimbabwe Leather Sector Strategy: 2021-2030, to achieve the set objectives include the capacitation of the livestock farmers; the introduction of new technologies; the promotion of product and market development by value chain players; and advocacy programmes on introduction of supportive policies.
“The strategy also seeks to promote the rural industrialisation drive and the devolution agenda since it will be implemented through devolved structures to reach and empower the local communities,” she said.