The Sunday News
Robin Muchetu, Senior Reporter
VICE President Dr Constantino Chiwenga has officially launched the Zimbabwe Leather Sector Strategy (2021-2030), encouraging the sector to increase volumes of products and contribute to the economic rebound.
In his address in Bulawayo on Friday, VP Chiwenga said that he understood the leather industry, their challenges and the vision set for the industry.
“Let’s resuscitate this industry from where it is to the highest possible growth, we can all combine together to achieve. 17 million (pairs of shoes aimed to be manufactured) a year is not enough; we can aim much higher than that figure. When all stakeholders put together from agriculture and industry forming the value chain, we need to do better.
In terms of funding, as government we will be looking at that as we want the resuscitation of the leather industry. You need to be rest assured that we will give you all the necessary support,” he said.
He said the new dispensation was concerned with results from industry, its contribution for the country to achieve Vision 2030.
“Under National Development Strategy 1, the country must deliver broad based transformation, create wealth and expand horizons for economic opportunities for all Zimbabweans. The Second Republic is prioritising the crafting and implementation of sectorial policies and strategies such as the leather sector strategy in order to achieve industry efficiency and exclusive growth which our country desperately requires.
“Looking at the leather industry, Zimbabwe is better positioned than its regional peers. Since the leather value chain is well structured starting from the input suppliers, livestock suppliers’ abattoirs, hides merchants, manufacturers of leather products and retailers.
So that value chain is complete. Let us all put it in place that each one of us plays their part and together we will succeed.”
He said Zimbabwe has a long history of leather production dating back to the Stone Age era and by the 1990s Zimbabwe had the most sophisticated leather industries in the region and was exporting products outside the country. This was eventually affected by economic sanctions imposed on the country in the early 2000s.
“This is now behind us, we now move on, that period has given us chunks of time to think outside the box. We now need to build our livestock and that live stock will produce the by-products, the leather. We want all of us not in the distant future to be talking about the best leather from Zimbabwe wherever we go around this world. The slogan should be ‘wear Zimbabwean leather’. That way we will rebuild our glorious past,” he said.
The launch was graced by the Minister of Industry and Commerce Dr Sekai Nzenza and her Deputy Cde Raj Modi, Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Dr Anxious Masuka and representatives from the leather sector.