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In an official report to Zimtrade, Zimbabwe's Trade Development and Promotion Organisation, an expert non-profit organisation based in The Netherlands has advised tanners and leather goods manufacturers in Zimbabwe that improving husbandry is a key to developing the sector’s export potential.
Hans Akkerman, Sector Coordinator Textile & Leather Industry and Consumer Products at PUM Netherlands Senior Experts, is collaborating with ZimTrade to conduct a scoping exercise of the leather sector in Zimbabwe.
Having over 40 years’ experience in advising manufacturers in the EU and South America on Strategy, Organisation, Marketing and Technology, Akkerman told local companies that intend to penetrate the export market that it is essential to improve their processes in order to produce quality products, to gain and maintain a sustained competitive advantage and market presence internationally.
Some manufacturers have told Zimtrade the quality of their finished products is being compromised by the low quality of locally-produced finished leather. According to Hakkerman, one of the keys to the process is to improve animal the country’s husbandry practices so that the hides collected are of a premium quality for use in the tanning industry.
According to ZimTrade, global imports of leather products and footwear increased from US$123 billion in 2011 to US$132 billion in 2015, with handbags and leather seats up 33% and 15%, respectively. Zimbabwe’s exports of footwear increased from US$1.3 million in 2011 to US$2 million in 2015.