A tannery has been opened in Botswana to reduce dependence on South Africa which has been supplying the local and outside markets with processed leather. Tannery Industry Botswana, which is based in Phakalane, started business in November 2006 and was already supplying the local market with leather for making shoes, leather jackets, belts and handbags.

The commercial director for the company, Malekantwa Mmapatsi, called on small business people to stop relying on outside suppliers. He said once the company was operating at full capacity it would be able to process 900 cattle hides a day and that Botswana Meat Commission supplies them with raw material.

However, he said, 80% of leather from Botswana failed to meet international quality standards because of poor skinning. Branding cattle also lowered the quality.

Mmapatsi said that about 300,000 cattle were slaughtered annually in Botswana by the BMC and that his firm would be able to take all the hides from the facility. He said that the colour, quality and thickness of the leather will depend on the demand of the customers. Source: Botswana Press Agency (BOPA)