SMEs upbeat on design leather studio utilisation

SMEs upbeat on design leather studio utilisation

 Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are confident of fully utilising the Leather Design Studio based in Chileka, Blantyre from the next quarter following the launch of the Kabula Leather Products Cluster next week to coordinate activities at the studio.

The European Union-funded programme was launched in 2018 through the Malawi Enterprise Productivity Enhancement under the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Integration Support Mechanism initiative to support SMEs in leather industry.

Minister of Finance Simplex Chithyola Banda

However, the $321 710 (about K546.9 million) modern leather design studio has not reached its capacity of producing 400 pairs of shoes a day, six years after launch.

Kabula Leather Cluster interim chairperson Daniel Mkama said apart from market and human resource challenges, there was need for standardised quality and proper coordination of SMEs to effectively utilise the studio.

He said: “We have divided the industry players into 14 clusters according to the zones of their operations.

“On top of the 14 clusters is the main committee which will coordinate the SMEs to ensure that business is shared equally and there is sanity in the way the studio will be utilised.”

In a separate interview, Leather Industry Association of Malawi president Edward Malunga confirmed that the industry is yet to fully utilise the studio, but was optimistic the situation could change following the coming of clusters.

He said: “As the industry, the market challenges continue to limit players from using the studio as it requires huge contracts for people to really think of using that modern machine, otherwise the costs could be unbearable.

“I don’t need the studio because my company has enough equipment, but as an association, I have not heard members regularly using the studio.”

Meanwhile, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Institute communications specialist Patrick Zgambo said the studio is currently being well utilised by industry players although the size of the machine requires huge volume of products.

He said: “The challenge faced by most small and medium enterprises is not necessarily delayed as we have opened up the space to all SMEs. However, the machinery centre is big and requires large quantities for optimal utilisation.

“We have spoken with the leather association who are also part of the management, on how they can utilise the centre..

Ministry of Trade and Industry data shows that locally, footwear demand is estimated at 16 million pairs against current production of 300 000 pairs per year

The post SMEs upbeat on design leather studio utilisation first appeared on The Nation Online.

The post SMEs upbeat on design leather studio utilisation appeared first on The Nation Online.