Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
PLAYERS in the leather sector in Bulawayo are seeking to use this year’s Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) to showcase their products and improve on quality standards while leveraging on feedback from the market to enhance exports.
Bulawayo will host the multi-sectoral trade exhibition under tight Covid-19 mitigation protocols next month (20 to 23 July) under the theme: “Showcasing the New Normal for Business & Industry: Realities and Opportunities.”
In an interview, Bulawayo Leather Cluster secretary, Mr Fungai Zvinondiramba, said they were geared to participate at this year’s trade fair and they were bringing on board their leather sub-clusters in Matabeleland region.
“We expect to use the ZITF as a springboard to try and also be visible since we have been quiet for quite a long time. We would like to engage the market so that we supply what is wanted. We therefore want to use the opportunity presented by ZITF as a development agenda for our clusters through getting feedback from the market,” he said.
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Bulawayo leather sector had secured markets in the region in countries such as Namibia, Zambia and Angola through participating at shows like the Zambia International Trade Fair in 2019 and Windhoek Industrial and Agricultural Show (WIAS) in Namibia.
The Bulawayo Leather Cluster capacity has been boosted by the US$2 million funding availed by the African Development Bank under the Beef and Leather Value Chain Technical Assistance.
In Matabeleland North, Mr Zvinondiramba said they have 10 sub-clusters in areas such as Binga, Hwange, Lupane, Tsholotsho, Nkayi, Bubi and Umguza.
He said they were expecting to showcase their products at this year’s fair under a new normal following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, organisers of the trade fair, the ZITF Company have announced that 11 countries have so far confirmed their participation.
The countries are South Africa, Tanzania, Namibia, Angola, Belarus, Botswana, Indonesia, Japan, Malawi, Mozambique and Nigeria.
Space bookings is now at 90 percent with 405 direct exhibitors having so far booked 44 878 square metres against 49 547 square metres that has been made available. — @okazunga