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Plan to revive leather, textile industries in top gear after Uhuru's order
2018/4/24 15:35:55 Source: CAROLYNE KUBWA @carolynekubwa Author: 点击率:

Industrialisation Principal Secretary Betty Maina during her tour of Reddamac Leather Industries, which is owned by Tanners Association of Kenya Chairman Robert Njoka, April 20, 2018. /CAROLYNE

Leather and textile processing firms have reaped benefits following President Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive for the revival of the industries.

The President said all military boots should be bought from local manufacturers and the government plans to process hides and skins before exporting them.

There is a plan to set up 5,000 cottage industries, invest in four leather parks and expand existing tanneries.

Industrialisation PS for Betty Maina has started visiting the industries to inspect activities at firm level.

The government plans to offer support via capacity building, training, creation of a common manufacturing facility and policy frameworks.

Among the factories visited was Reddamac Leather Industries which is owned by Robert Njoka, Chairman of the Tanners Association of Kenya.

In an interview with journalists, Njoka said he was happy about the directive and appreciated that his factory was among those the Principal Secretary visited.

Only two of the 16 tanneries across the country are owned by locals.

Reddamac was founded 18 years ago and started with 15 staff. It now has 150 employees and the number is expected to rise to 500 with the revival.

The PS visited with officials including Kenya Leather Development Council CEO Issack Noor.

She said the government is ready to help leather industries and that officials will visit 11 of factories to check their capability of manufacturing military boots. Those that meet requirements will do the work.

Read: Government to create 70,000 jobs in leather industry, says PS

Also read: State gives Sh2.55 billion to revive stalled industries

The government's target is the production of 20 million shoes by 2022 and the increase of export revenue in the industry to Sh50 billion in the next five years.

Kenya buys 30 million pairs of shoes a year yet it has the third-largest cattle herd in Africa.

Njokasaid the Sh1 billion set aside to build a treatment plant should be distributed well to help expand the market.

On textiles, the government is targeting the development of cotton production using hybrids for three times the production yield. It is also planning incentives for investors to build modern ginneries and textile manufacturing plants.

Some of the challenges the industries face are high operational costs, including those of electricity and licenses.

Last year, Reddamac trained 14 warders from Kamiti and Athi River prisons in the hope that they would pass leather handling and production skills to inmates.

Last month, Noor said work on the Machakos-based leather park had started with fencing and construction of the wastage treatment plant.

The government is working on power supply lines and water provision and investors will lease space for industries and tanneries.

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