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Zimbabwe leather and tanning industry need to meet international standards to penetrate Global markets

by Enos Denhere
24 May 2019 at 13:44hrs | Views
The ZimTrade - PUM Leather Tanneries Seminar workshop which took place on the 20th - 21th May 2019 in Bulawayo demonstrated sigh of relief to local players in leather industry as they rubbed shoulders with international experts in the so said industry on the way forward to boost the industry.

The seminar was on how the local industry can benefit from the international market and able to meet the requirements. The ZimTrade facilitates and point to the right market.

On his opening remarks of the seminar the ZimTrade regional manager Mr S Nkala has this to say:
"May I begin by expressing my gratitude to PUM for the tremendous support they have been giving to our industry and for making it possible to host this seminar:

"The timing of the intervention is very appropriate, as the government is actively seeking to promote value-added exports.

"A plus for the Leather Sector is that, it's been identified as one of the priority in the soon to be launched National Trade Policy and the National Export Strategy for Zimbabwe.

"Our partnership with PUM is therefore , an effort to help companies improve their production efficiencies and since we signed the MOU in 2016 , at least 50 companies  have accessed PUM support and the Leather sector has been amongst the major beneficiaries with 18 companies having received experts ," said Mr Nkala

Mr Hans Akkerman a leather guru from Netherlands encouraged the players in leather sector who attended a two-day leather and tanneries seminar which ended on the 21th May 2019 that the local leather value chain has huge potential to contribute to the country's economy if it manages to grow its export base.

The leather sector globally is a multi-billion dollar industry. The seminar was reflecting on tanning practices in Zimbabwe and equip tanners with requisite knowledge on current international trends in the sector.

 "For the industry to grow the tanners need to meet the international standards and this will be a gateway in boosting their exports," declared Akkerman .

Mr Warren Phipps, a leather technician at a South African-based leather company, Mendelson and Frost, said international companies were now buying from tanneries and firms in Africa and across the world that followed correct procedures throughout the leather value chain.

The representative from South Africa Leather manufacturing company, Mendelson and Frost, Mr Warren Phipps during the seminar touched on the guidelines to penetrate international markets.

"The International market is now open to tanneries firms all over the world which follows the rightful guidelines throughout the whole process in leather value chain''

"In order to export you need to keep the big brands happy. Big brands e.g. Puma, Gucci, PVH, Nike etc. they will buy when you  conform to Leather Working Group"

"The Big brands are advocating for clean environment and zero tolerance on hazardous discharge of chemicals, combat issue of water and land.

"Leather industry is considered by some to be a dirty industry with high usage of water, energy and chemicals which prompted some Ant-leather Campaigns group to rise up. The Detox Campaigns –this protests are legitimate so we need to clean up out the act. Some tanneries across the globe e.g in Bangladesh were under fire for emitting hazardous chemicals into the environment" declared Mr Phipps.

" Zimbabwe to export need to register and meet requirements of Leather Working Group (LWG)," he concluded.
The Chairperson, National Leather Working Group (NLWG) under the three (3) year Zimbabwe Support to the Beef and Leather Value Chain Technical Assistance Project under African Development Bank (AfDB), Mr Jacob Nyathi said, "It was something out of this world as we were hearing from the people with the latest information and modern knowledge in leather industry.

"This has wired local tanners into another level to understand the international market as it is not about producing good quality/volumes but understanding the international requirements," said Nyathi.
Presenters at the conference were from, STAHL (expert in leather- and performance coatings and dyes), PUM, Mendelson & Frost ( South African based Leather goods and footwear manufacturer), Solidaridad network, IM- Innovating of Netherlands and Mimosa Extracting Company (RSA). The local tanners were really wired
The seminar was an eye opener to many delegates who showed joy to ride on the support of ZimTrade-PUM on leather industry.

Enos Denhere is a freelance Journalist and Entrepreneur based in Zimbabwe. He is contacted on his email Call/App +263773894975

Source - Enos Denhere