by Ronald Njoroge
NAIROBI, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- Kenya on Tuesday launched the Kenya Footwear Manufacturers Association strategy that aims to revamp the leather sector.
Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperation Adan Mohamed told a leather forum in Nairobi that the country's leather sector is yet to fully recover from the effects of the Structural Adjustment Programs that were imposed on Kenya by the international donor community over 20 years ago.
"We are hoping that the strategy will help the leather sector to regain its competitiveness which made the country an exporter of finished leather products," Mohamed said.
The strategy provides a roadmap that will guide the East African nation's leather sector to tap its full potential.
Data from the ministry of industry indicates that Kenya is only able to produce 8 million pairs of shoes annually, leaving a deficit of 23 million pairs.
"As a result Kenya is forced to import second-hand shoes from the developed world in order to bridge the deficit," he added.
The government official noted that the leather industry currently employs 600,000 people directly along the value chain.
He said the manufacture of footwear and leather goods represent the highest level in the leather value addition process.
"Despite the potential that the footwear and leather goods sector portends in the leather value chain, the lack of strategy has long hindered the development of a robust leather industry," he added.
The CS noted that currently most footwear producers operate alone scattered all over the country. "We are therefore urging the leather sector to cluster in groups so that they increase their production efficiency," Mohamed said. Enditem
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