The Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) has revealed that the Leather Park, which promises to revive the leather industry, is destined for Lobatse.
“As soon as we secure funding, the park will be up and running within 24 months,” said Cosmas Moapare, LEA’s Deputy CEO for Client Services.
The leather industry needs to be developed as it currently imports more than it exports.
Moapare said the Government is expected to set the backbone of the park and after 2 to 3 years, the park will be self funding.
The P243 million project will serve as a unified production hub for a large number of small and mid-scale leather garment, footwear and accessory production units.
Business opportunities, such as the establishment of slaughter facilities, leather finishing tanneries, hides and skins collection, leather shoe manufacturing factories, leather craft manufacturing, weaner and small stock production have been identified.
The anticipated Leather Park will cover effluent infrastructure, training centre and shells for investors in wet blue, retanning and finished leather plants.
Moapare emphasised the need to address the current situation where Botswana’s hides and skins are exported with very little value addition.
He pointed out that the leather industry requires the support of government and other stakeholders in order to empower entrepreneurs.
A report by LEA, titled Situation Analysis of The Leather Industry In Botswana, shows that our leather exports serve only to enrich other countries and indicated that the leather industry needs to be developed as currently its import bill is higher than the export bill.
In 2010, the leather import bill stood at more than P151 million and was dominated by footwear and apparel while the export bill stood at P46 million with two thirds of the bill consisting of raw hides and skins.
Botswana leather business is highly undeveloped despite the country’s huge endowment with hides and skins, thanks to its highly established cattle industry.
The market for all the local raw skins and hides is in South Africa, Namibia and China, who then process the skins and hides into finished products and resell them to Botswana at a more expensive price.