Zambia gets croc skin factory
Victoria Falls – Zambia could have its first crocodile skin tanning factory as soon as this year Zambia Crocodile Farmers Association (ZaCFA) spokesperson Mr Bill Thomas says.
ZaCFA sees growth in the sector in 2021, driven by the removal of a 10 percent export duty imposed on raw crocodile skins in the 2021 national budget.
In 2020, the number of skins exported declined slightly compared to 2019 numbers as spending on luxury leather goods fell due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Further, buyers and quality inspectors were not in a position to freely travel the world in search of crocodile skins.
Mr Thomas said plans to open a tannery in Zambia were advancing.
“We are now confident that this operation will be fully functioning by the end of 2021 which will give value addition to the raw materials prior to export,” he said.
He said employment numbers in the industry in Zambia had increased by 28 percent, with the addition of 176 jobs since the removal of the duty at the start of this year.
“This is a clear demonstration that increased revenue comes from growth and not duties. What would really help the industry now would be the repayment of approved VAT refunds to inject much needed working capital,” he added.
Apart from the skins, crocodiles also provide meat and oils.
In 2018, Zambia exported about 31,685 farmed crocodile skins. The following year, exports are estimated to have slumped to 22,000 – a third of what was exported in 2015.