January 22, 2024

AVPS Champions Ready Markets for Isiolo County Leather Products

Jane Mumo

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The collaboration between the Isiolo County Government and Agency and Voice for the Private Sector (AVPS), under USAID Strategic Partnership (USP) Program, is producing positive outcomes and contributing significantly to developing and enhancing various initiatives within the region. Recently, representatives from both entities visited the YETU Leather Tanning Factory in Kenya to discuss further the prospects of creating a thriving market for leather products and explore the potential establishment of a tanning factory in Isiolo. This visit emphasizes their commitment to enhancing economic development and exploring sustainable opportunities within the region.

This is a timely engagement as Isiolo gears up for the operationalization of Isiolo Export Abbatoir in March 2024.  YETU Leather Tanning Factory, one of the leading tanning factories in Kenya, assured the Isiolo County Government that they are ready to invest in Isiolo not only in offering a ready market but also in setting up a tanning factory in the cosmopolitan county. “This investment will open up opportunities for our youth, women, and Persons with Disabilities through job creation and ultimately transform their livelihoods,” affirmed the County Secretary, Dade Boru.

USAID Strategic Partnership Program, under the Agency and Voice for the Private Sector (AVPS), collaborated with the Isiolo County Government in the co-creation of a work plan aimed at maximizing their prioritized value chains of meat (beef), camel, and leather. The joint approach helped identify the critical areas of the program’s intervention and, for the county, the creation of local ownership and commitment to building regional resilience that enables sustainable and inclusive growth moving forward. “We are very proud to be part of this collaboration, and as a program, we are committed to a sustainable approach by ensuring locally led, locally owned, and locally managed and integrated resilience frameworks that will improve the resilience and impact the livelihoods of people,’’ said the Chief of Party, USAID Strategic Partnership Program, Dr George Njenga.

As the first step of implementing the co-created work plan, AVPS identified YETU Leather Tanning Factory as a potential investor for the leather value chain in Isiolo. Known for its commitment to practising and impacting local communities positively, YETU Leather is more than willing to invest in Isiolo’s prestigious leather industry and assist the county in the realization of becoming the leading leather industry in the country.

The County Government representatives expressed their optimism about how this initiative will open up lucrative markets for leather and facilitate the creation of value-added products such as locally designed and customized shoes, bags, and beads that align with the culture of the community.  Thus, the initiative will enhance ownership of locally manufactured products, promote the entire business community ecosystem in the county, and transform the livelihoods of the people in the county, which is predominantly inhabited by pastoral communities deriving their livelihood from cattle, sheep, and goats.

Dr. Lawrence Mwongela, the Chief Executive Committee Member (CECM) for cooperatives, emphasized the importance of organizing self-help groups into cooperative societies to enhance efficiency. This strategic approach aims to streamline the organization of livestock producers, enabling them to market their products more effectively. The ultimate goal is to eliminate unnecessary costs imposed by middlemen in the process.

During the field visit, the County Secretary assured the potential investor, YETU, that the County has incentivized ways of attracting investors through improved infrastructure and curbing insecurity issues to create a conducive environment for conducting business.  Subsequently, the County  Government has already allocated land for the tannery factory.

This initiative introduces a new era for the Isiolo Community. It will propel the county’s business ecosystem to new heights and elevate the quality of life, particularly for women, youth, and Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) who are significant beneficiaries of the leather project. Concurrently, AVPS, under the USAID Strategic Partnership Program, is unwaveringly dedicated to supporting every phase of this journey, ensuring the transformational plan evolves into a tangible reality.

At the heart of AVPS is enhancing the voice of the county-level private sector to create and advocate for a conducive business-enabling environment and enable them to increase investment, sales, and employment through institutional capacity building, facilitating market linkages and public-policy dialogues.

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