Low value addition in the leather industry has undermined production of leather products in Tanzania, with thousands of tonnes of skins and hides wasted due to poor handling, Mr Mwijage said.
Tanzania has eight small and medium-sized leather factories operating below capacity, both in collecting and processing raw hides and skins.
Under the five-year development plan 2016-2020, the government has set a target for speeding up industrialisation to make each of Tanzania’s 26 regions attract manufacturing industries and agro-processing factories.
“We are building strong industrial base for domestic products and exports as our efforts to raise the national economy through manufacturing industries. This will see Tanzania getting more revenues and creating employment,” Mr Mwijage told The EastAfrican.
Cheap leather imports are hurting small and medium enterprises, the Kenya Footwear Manufacturers Association has said, calling on the government to protect the sector.
Eighty per cent of shows in the local market are from China and India, the KFMA chairman James Mwaura said, adding it has denied small traders revenues.
This, coupled with limited access to the market, lack of skills beyond basics in production, low expertise to produce finished leather and leather products, and high cost of capital are hurting small businesses.