The Ten days training on VEGETABLE TANNING TECHNIQUES to selected Artisans/MSME’s was conducted and successfully completed in Lilongwe, Malawi. The training was conducted by Africa Leather and Leather Products Institute (ALLPI) in collaboration with the Government of Malawi Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism from 6th to 15Th June 2022 at Capital City Motel open Compound in Lilongwe, Malawi.  The 25  trainees (11males (44%) and 14 women (56%)) were selected from Mzuzu Leather Cooperative (Northern Region of Malawi) Blantyre Leather Cooperative (Southern Region) and Lilongwe Leather Cooperative (Central Region).

The training aim was to produce quality vegetable and Chrome tanned leather using Vegetable tannin extract and home based equipments (plastic containers) as vessels for tanning replacing the tanning drums which are used in modern tanning process. During the training, the trainees were able to process different types of leathers including hair on leather from raw stock to crust stage using vegetable tannins (Mimosa - plant based), mineral tannin (chrome tan powder) and Syntan (Man-made synthetic tannin) as tanning agents.

The 10 days training was conducted by Mr. Harrison Mungai, Leather value chain Expert, a resource person from Member State Mr. Crispin Amasi and facilitated by ALLPI Investment, Trade and Marketing expert Mrs. Birkinesh Gonfa. The theory and practical sessions covered the whole process of leather manufacturing by using home based tools and equipments. The Training was conducted in a participatory and team work platform based on the consensus reached during the opening of the Training session. During the training program the Malawian Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) visited the training venue (group) and interviewed the Mr. Mungai (ALLPI), Mr. Mayeso (Ministry) and Mr. Aggrey Dzama and M/s Sibongile Chilenga on behalf of the trainees.

During the closing ceremony,   the program was coordinated by Mrs. Tawonga Hellen Nkana Njikho Industrial Development Officer, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism of Malawi Government. From ALLPI side Mrs Birkinesh Gonfa gave a vote of thanks to the ministry, the trainers and the trainees while Mr Aggrey Dzama one of the trainees gave a general remark of the training on behalf of the whole team. Mr Dzama thanked ALLPI and the Ministry for organizing the much waited training which he said they (trainees) are going to form a unified group, have it be registered to cater for the interest of cottage tanners of Malawi. The conclusive remark of the training workshop was given Mr. Clement Phangaphanga the Director of Industry who hailed  ALLPI for conducting the much needed artisanal vegetable  training programme  in Malawi. The Director then handed over certificate of participation to the trainees and requested them to join him for a group photograph before they leave for their respective destinations. At this juncture, the Director declared the training officially closed.

Director of Industry Mr. Phangaphanga (2nd right) admires a vegetable tanned and batik dyed leather while Mr. Mungai (on his left looks on).
One of the trainees (left - in brown jacket) explains to the Director of the Industry (Mr. Phangaphanga -2nd right) the process of batik dyeing while Mr. Mungai (ALLPI) on Mr. Phangaphanga’s left listens keenly. This is one of the vegetable tanning and dyeing techniques introduced by ALLPI.
Director of Industry Mr. Phangaphanga whisked by Mr. Mungai (ALLPI-Leather value chain and Tannery Expert) on his right and M/s Hellen (Ministry- Industrial Development Officer) on his left addresses the trainees (others are not visible) during the official opening. Note: W.H. O Health protocol on physical distancing was strictly observed.
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