Invest in quality to enhance exports, leather industry told

Leather

Prince Sunduzani Business Reporter

ZIMBABWE has a huge potential to increase export earnings from the leather industry value chain and players in the sector have been called upon to invest in quality products to compete on the regional and global market.

In a presentation during a workshop organised by the Leather Institute of Zimbabwe and Homelink Finance in Bulawayo this week, ZimTrade regional manager, Mr Similo Nkala, said local leather producers can penetrate various markets if their products were of competitive export quality.

He said ZimTrade was ready to assist the sector with market data and skills development.

The country’s export promotion agency has already signed a memorandum of understanding with Senior Experten Service (SES), a Germany volunteer organisation for retired experts and PUM Netherlands, which offer technical skills and professional engagement with Zimbabwean companies. Under the arrangement, Mr Nkala said, the partner countries (German and Netherlands) can fly the experts into the country at no expense to assist local companies with Zimtrade only meeting accommodation and meals’ costs.

“In 2017 there were about 13 companies from the leather sector that received experts. This is good for the industry because this is an external person who will tell you the truth because he has nothing to lose. You can engage experts in different areas to improve the quality of your products, for example on marketing and export strategies,” said Mr Nkala.

“We encourage leather players to apply to ZimTrade for the services of the SES and PUM as this will help a lot for their products to be competitive on the export market.” Latest reports indicate that Sadc garnered $3 billion in footwear market trade and of that figure Zimbabwe exported about $1.4 million.

The Comesa footwear market was $960 million, which Mr Nkala said presents a chance for Zimbabwean companies. He challenged local leather producers to position themselves and work out all strategies to penetrate into the lucrative markets. — @PrinceNkosy102.

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