Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry Permanent Secretary Siazongo D. Siakalenge inspects leather, shown by Zamleather General Manager Richard Franklin (left) and Warehouse Supervisor Mike Musukwa.

LUSAKA, ZAMBIA–Zambeef Product’s Zamleather division has welcomed government support to help grow the domestic leather industry and increase opportunities for value addition.

The pledge to encourage industry growth came as Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry Permanent Secretary Siazongo D. Siakalenge toured the Lusaka operations of the company, which makes Zamshu brand footwear.
Among the issues raised during the visit was the erratic supply of electricity to the factory, the need to stimulate greater domestic demand for local products from both private and public sector, improvements in the quality of hides provided by farmers, and the problem of raw hides being smuggled out of the country.
Mr Siakalenge promised to take up these issues with the relevant ministries and agencies, and to engage mining companies in order to understand the reluctance by some to buy locally manufactured safety shoes and equipment.
In praising Zamleather’s efforts to buy hides from small-scale farmers in all corners of the country, Mr Siakalenge also called for improved attention to ensure high quality hides are supplied.

“As an industry we need the support of government. It is something that needs to take place at multiple levels, and we are encouraged by the way government has listened to the issues and has offered practical, positive intervention to build the industry, add value and create jobs,” said Zamleather General Manager Richard Franklin.

Mr Franklin explained that Zamleather processes 6,000 hides per month at its Lusaka plant and a further 2,000 per month under contract at Kembe. He said the tannery was operating at full capacity in Lusaka and was looking to expand facilities to process 10,000 hides per month at the beginning of 2016.Zamleather makes the Zamshu branded footwear including Little Bwana school shoes, Kaleza Z-12 leather soccer boot as well as safety bootsfor the mines including KCM and Mopani.
The company, which employs 167 full-time workers, is also keen to start exporting ‘crust’ leather – which adds greater value to the wet blue hides that are currently exported, and aims to be selling such leather to China within the coming year.
He also praised the launch of the newly formed Zambia Leather Industries Association, which will ensure industry co-ordination to improve hide and leather quality, market access and supply chain support.

About Zambeef Products Plc
Zambeef Products Plc is the largest integrated agribusinesses in Zambia.
The group is principally involved in the production, processing, distribution and retailing of beef, chicken, pork, milk, dairy products, eggs, edible oils, stock feed and flour. The group also has large row cropping operations (principally maize, soya beans and wheat), with approximately 8,350 hectares of row crops under irrigation and 17,000 hectares of rain-fed/dry-land crops available for planting each year. The group is also in the process of rolling out its West Africa expansion in Nigeria and Ghana, as well as developing a palm project in Zambia.

It slaughters more than 80,000 beef cattle and 6 million chickens, and processes 8 million litres of milk per year. The company has 122 retail outlets throughout the country, along with three wholesale depots.
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