Beef and leather industry stakeholders in Zimbabwe are lobbying their government for a policy waiver which will enable them to export raw hides they cannot utilise, helping to cut down on possible losses at the same time as generating revenue for the economy.

John Baterai, the director of the board of Hides and Skin, speaking at an industry stakeholder meeting, said local tanneries did not have the capacity to take on all the hides being sent to them from the abattoirs.

“Some of the policies that have been put in place are affecting us because we cannot export raw hides, but local tanneries are failing to absorb all the hides so they end up rotting at the abattoirs and they have to absorb the cost,” he said.

Mr Batirai also said the treatment cost of a hide was £10.50 yet the hide was selling for around £5.50, leaving them with no option but to dispose of them.

“The leather value chain has great potential to generate foreign currency for the country and if the government revisits some of the policies that effect us, we can realise that potential,” said Mr Batirai.

The government introduced a levy of 60p on every kilogram of raw hide for export in 2013. The move was expected to boost value addition in the leather industry, as well as curtail the exportation of raw hides by local abattoirs.

Zimbabwe is about to launch its second leather industry strategy next month, which is expected to boost production and ultimately trade in the region.