ZIMBABWE’S exports of leather products declined by 95% to $3,3 million in 2014 due to depressed economic activity in the cattle-rich southern region of the country, trade promotion agency ZimTrade has said.
Information from ZimTrade revealed that exports of footwear, leather articles and upholstery leather declined to $3,3 million in 2014 from $60,5 million in 2002.
“According to Trade Map, Zimbabwe’s exports of leather products mainly footwear, upholstery leather as well as leather products have remained quite low in the past 7 years compared to previous years (2002-2008),” the trade promotion agency said.
Trade Map is a company that provides trade statistics on export performance, international demand, alternative markets and competitive markets, as well as a directory of importing and exporting companies.
It covers 220 countries and territories.
Zimbabwe’s leather products were mainly exported to regional markets with the major markets being South Africa, Zambia, Namibia and Malawi, ZimTrade said.
As initiatives to revive the sector, ZimTrade is going to hold an export awareness seminar in Bulawayo tomorrow which is part of its initiative to capacitate small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs).
ZimTrade said over 24 members of the Bulawayo Leather Products Cluster (BLPC) would attend the seminar aimed at raising awareness as well as discussing strategies which could be implemented by cluster members in order to enhance their export business.
The BLPC was formed after a cluster management excellency training conducted by the Comesa Leather and Leather Products Institute (LLPI) in May 2013 in Siavonga, Zambia.
According to LLPI, clusters play a key role in the growth, development and success of SMEs in the leather sector.
Zimbabwe’s leather sector is among the priority sectors identified by government as having the potential to contribute to the growth of the economy.