Friday February 7 2014

COMESA pledges to support SMEs in leather production

By Brian Ssenoga


The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), through the Leather and Leather Products Institute (LLPI), has announced a programme to empower Small and Medium size Enterprises (SMEs) in Uganda for rapid leather industry development.
The programme is aimed at promoting productivity, competitiveness, trade and regional integration in the leather and leather products manufacturing sub-sector,
The programme will mainly aim at establishing incubation centres in the country targeting local communities, Artisans and all the stake holders from slaughter house owners, producers of hides and skins, traders, tanners, leather goods manufacturers and the industry regulators.

Speaking to the Daily Monitor at the eighth regional leather sector core team meeting held in Kampala recently, the executive director COMESA LLPI, Dr Mwinyikione Mwinyhija, said the incubation centre from which a leather products is to be developed will be designed to take easy recognition of the industry needs in the country.

“This however will come with a change in the approach to include government which will be responsible for quality and regulation issues, the Academia responsible for research, and the private sector to enlighten governments about the issues in the commercial area” Dr Mwinyihija said “the LLPI has already signed MOUs with global industry leaders in India and Turkey. We are in the process of identifying leading institutions in China and Europe mainly for knowledge transfer but also products export to those countries. In other wards we build incubation centres and use them to produce high quality leather goods in Uganda”

At the same event, Ms Victoria Byoma, the Chairperson Footwear and Leather-goods Manufacturers and Exporters Association added: “The leather goods industry is interestingly unnatured particularly in Uganda; we have an acute demand despite the natural high quality of our hides and skins. Uganda has the best hides and skins in Africa.”