Players in the local leather industry have bemoaned lack of value addition to leather products, saying this is hindering the industry’s growth which is losing K70 billion every year.
Last week, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Institute (Smedi), in collaboration with Leather Industries Association of Malawi (Liama), organised a meeting with animal farmers, butchery owners and other stakeholders in Chikwawa.
The meeting was convened to discuss challenges and opportunities in the leather industry and how to capitalise on the opportunities.
Smedi director of business information Leman Jussa said the industry has potential to help uplift the country’s economy, calling on authorities to ensure that quality of leather is enhanced by providing machinery to establish a tannery.
He said Malawi is losing about K70 billion every year due to lack of value addition and machinery in the leather industry.
Said Jussa: “Malawi can benefit from the leather industry because from the survey we conducted in 2014, we can produce products worth K72 billion from leather, but currently we are only producing K2.3 billion worth of products.”
He said if value addition was done in Malawi, the country could have been earning foreign exchange and create jobs in the industry.
“Smedi is ready to promote the industry and SMEs in the sector so that leather products are manufactured within Malawi and exported,” said Jussa.
Liama chairperson Chrispine Amasi said the local industry has potential, citing the hides and skin as “gold mine” which if value is added could bring income and create jobs.
“At the moment, the challenge is that we do not have the machinery to produce leather in Malawi. There is only one tannery which does wet-blue which is partially processed,” he said.
Amasi said establishment of a tannery requires about K2 billion.—Mana