GOVERNMENT has organised an intensive training programme on leather production targeting small to medium enterprises (SMEs) including women and youths in Matabeleland North and Bulawayo provinces.
The programme is spearheaded by the Leather National Working Group under the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, in liaison with the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community and Small to Medium Enterprises Development.
It is part of the US$2,3 million facility sourced from the African Development Bank (AfDB) by Government to support the beef and leather value chain in Matabeleland region.
A statement circulated to all seven districts in Matabeleland North from the Ministry of Industry read: “The Leather National Working Group sponsored by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce is organising an intensive three-week leather crafts training for all the seven districts of Matabeleland North and Bulawayo”.
The districts are Lupane, Hwange, Binga, Bubi, Nkayi, Tsholotsho and Umguza. Trainers from the Bulawayo leather cluster will facilitate the training.
A district officer in the Ministry of Women’s Affairs in Hwange, Mr Tilton Jamera, said logistical details about the training would be availed in due course while prospective trainees have been requested to forward their details for selection.
He said 20 people would be trained in Hwange district while other districts would also have their own training sessions.
“Hwange has been allocated 20 slots and training will be in Hwange on a date and venue to be advised.
“This is a skills training for youths, women and SMEs and is part of the value addition programme on leather under the AfDB project,” Mr Jamera said.
The AfDB promised to avail funding for the support of Zimbabwe’s beef and leather value chain technical assistance project, training of farmers being one of them.
The overall objective of the technical assistance project is to catalyse the country’s economic growth and address Zimbabwe’s fragility through reviving the beef and leather industry economy in the province.
The project includes providing a platform for stakeholders to dialogue at national level to enhance co-ordinated action.
At present, Zimbabwe’s leather industry is operating at a subdued capacity despite opportunities in markets such as Sadc and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) as well as overseas.
The Matabeleland region boasts of good quality livestock hence the need to strengthen the competiveness of the beef and leather value chain. —–chroni e.co.zw