In 2013 the Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) revealed that the Leather Park, which promises to revive the leather industry, is destined for the southern town of Lobatse. Botswana leather business is highly undeveloped despite the country’s huge endowment with hides and skins, courtesy of the 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.
The assistant Minister of Trade and Industry Sadique Kebonang, who is also the Member of Parliament for Lobatse, will be visiting Chennai, India until February 5. Ernest Phiri of the ministry of trade and industry says the purpose of the meeting is for the assistant minister to appreciate the operations of a leather park and the rapid incubator. “It is important for the assistant minister to witness these operations as the government is embarking on such a project in Lobatse of which the assistant minister is the overseer.”
Phiri further added that, the assistant minister will be accompanied by Lobatse leadership comprising of the Mayor, Town Clerk, District Officer, Chief Economist in the ministry of trade and industry and representatives of Local Enterprise Authority LEA.
The project which is estimated to cost the government about P243 million will become a 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, re-tanning and finished leather plants. 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.