JOHANNESBURG - Zambia’s crocodile farmers are poised to increase investment, production and skin exports after the government suspended a 10 percent export duty that was hurting the sector, an industry association said on Thursday.
The removal of the duty on crocodile skins has helped boost producers' viability, the Zambia Crocodile Farmers Association (ZaCFA) said in a statement.
Farmers who survived the negative financial impact of the export duty and were still in operation, now hoped to focus on improving the quality of skins, increasing their capacity as well as upgrading and creating facilities to enable local value addition, it added.
“The Zambian crocodile industry has the potential to lead the world market. In the value-chain, crocodile skins benefit the manufacturing, agriculture and tourism sectors,” ZaCFA spokesman Bill Thomas said.
"The industry supports non-traditional exports and renewable agriculture exports. The crocodile industry has huge potential to position Zambia as a global power in the farming and supply of crocodile skins. Zambian farmers already supply crocodile skins to leather companies like Louis Vuitton, Gucci and many big international fashions brands."
Zambia’s crocodile farmers are poised to upscale investment, production and skin exports after the government suspended a 10 percent export duty on the sector. Video: Supplied
He said the repayment of long outstanding value-added tax claims would help producers even more, but acknowledged that "it would be difficult to expect too much at this time" given that Zambia, like many other countries around the world, was grappling with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Among several initiatives to boost local processing and production, ZaCFA is exploring how to set up a tannery or cooperate with an existing tannery that will build the local manufacturing base of value-added leather products.
“The tannery will employee more people and increase revenue locally,” association member Johann Jordaan said.
"We have permanent employees, seasonal workers as well as local contractors that we hire on our farms. Workers on the farms also receive very detailed training on how to handle, understand and live alongside crocodiles."
Zambia’s crocodile farmers are poised to upscale investment, production and skin exports after the government suspended a 10 percent export duty on the sector. Photo: Supplied