The project was closed in March 2003 after a satisfactory terminal report was submitted by the PEA. Project implementation was in line with work plans as originally set out. The established grading systems are already in use in the project countries.
This project was endorsed by the Sub-Group at its Sixth Session in 1998 and approved by the CFC's Executive Board in October 1998 for implementation in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia. The objective of the project was to improve the quality of raw hides and skins through the development of quality certification programmes and a pricing system that is dependent on quality grades.
The project was executed by the Eastern and Southern African Leather Industries Association (ESALIA) over a three year period starting from September 1999. The total project cost was about US$3.2 million partly financed by a CFC grant of US$1.4 million. Co-financing was provided by the Italian Tanners Association and the United Nations Industrial Organization (UNIDO). In-kind counterpart contributions were made by the PEA, the governments and leather industry associations of the four participating countries.
The following activities were undertaken during project implementation:
Introduction of quality grading standards
Enabled the stakeholders to understand the project goals and objectives and its advantages to them and the industry in general.
Flayers programme - Activities in this programme included:
- registering of flayers into the project
- purchasing of flaying knives that were distributed to registered flayers at a reduced price
- training of flayers on the right flaying techniques
- introduction of incentives to flayers to produce high quality hides and skins
Introduction of slaughter house indices
This was developed to check and monitor the flaying performance of the various slaughterhouses as well as the individual flayers.
Enforcement of grading standards
The project, in conjunction with the respective National Leather Associations, governments and National Project Coordinators, pushed for the grading standards to be recognized as National Standards in each of the countries.
Image building campaign of African raw hides and skins
This was intended to improve the image of the African leather sector in the eyes of the international market through the establishment of the ESALIA Quality Mark.
ESALIA Quality Mark
This was established with the help of an earlier UNIDO project US/RAF/88/100. It is awarded to tanneries and contract tanners in the export trade who meet the quality grading standards.
Grading Practice Publication
The project published and distributed a grading practice booklet in English and Swahili to help create awareness of the standards.
International trade promotions
Various trade promotion activities were undertaken with the help of the Italian leather association which provided the logistics for advertising to the world about African raw hides and skins.
A website was developed with the aim of exposing the leather products from the region to the global market and to supplement the trade information available to both producers and consumers of leather and leather goods from Africa.