Zambia leather industry takes knock from Covid-19 pandemic
JOHANNESBURG - Zambia's leather industry has not been spared from the negative socio-economic impact of the Covid-19 health crisis, which has restricted movement and ultimately demand for items like shoes, the head of a leading company in the sector said on Wesdnesday.
"Our industry is feeling the pinch of this pandemic. It has disrupted the way we do business, our supply-demand curve and ultimately, our sales,” Zamleather general manager Richard Franklin said in a statement.
Zamleather is a unit of Zambeef Products, the largest integrated cold chain food products and agribusiness company in Zambia and one of the largest in the region, involved in the primary production, processing, distribution and retailing of beef, chicken, pork, milk, eggs, dairy products, fish, flour and stockfeed, throughout Zambia and the surrounding region, as well as Nigeria and Ghana.
“Our industry is generally supported by people moving from point A to B. The more people move, the higher the need for new shoes. However, the virus has confined people to their homes, for quite some time, before the new normal. This, in turn, affects sales due to low demand," Franklin said.
He cited sales of Kaleza, a football boot produced by Zamleather, as having suffered after the closure of the soccer season in March to curb the spread of the coronavirus, while the suspension of school classes had slashed demand for its famous Zamshu school shoes.
He was however, optimistic that the company could see a pick up in business as Zambia's football season resume on a restricted basis.
Franklin said Zambeef's tannery and shoe division had managed to stay afloat amid the Covid-19 pandemic by adhering to preventive measures set by the government and heath institutions such as the World health Organisation.
"Although it has not been easy being productive under the new normal, our safety shoes have performed fairly well, since most factories and security companies in the country have been operational; therefore, demand for the shoes has been intact,” he added.
- African News Agency (ANA)