Event puts SA initiatives on the world map Crocodile Specialist Group

Southern and East Africa Region 241h Working Meeting of the IUCN Crocodile Specialist Group – Skukuza May 21-26

What the government hopes the exotic leather industry will achieve

Extracts from the address by Minister of Trade and Industry Dr. Rob Davies to the Crocodile Specialist Group

From Howard Kelly, CSG Vice Chair Southern and East Africa region More than 340 delegates from 42 countries attend the 24th Working Meeting of the IUCN Crocodile Specialist Group which was hosted at Skukuza from the 21st – 26th May. This prestigious event retumed to South Africa after 43 years with the 211d Working Meeting having been hosted at Ndumu Game Reserve in 1973.

The theme for this the 24th Working Meeting of the IUCN Crocodile Specialist Group was “Crocodiles, Communities and Livelihoods” which highlighted the complex relationship between Africa’s top aquatic predator, the Nile crocodile, and the communities who often share the same scarce aquatic resources with these ancient reptiles.

Besides being a scientific congress this event also presented for the first time a trade expo where producers and various service providers to the exotic leather trade profiled products and services.

More than 21 businesses took the opportunity to profile their products and services to international delegates and Thursday the 26th of May was dedicated to ”trade” with the Honorable Minister Rob Davies of the Department of Trade and Industry delivering the key note address.

This event also served to provide the platform for the launch of Exotic Leather South Africa one of the cluster initiatives funded by the dti. The newly formed South African Crocodile Industry Association (SA CIA) also held its first annual general meeting and the Exotic Leather Research Centre was able to present itself to a wide international audience.

From Jaywant lrkhede, Director Leather & Footwear, the dti The 24th Working Meeting of the Crocodile Specialist Group (CSG) was hosted by SA National Park and Exotic Leather SA (ELSA) at Skukuza, Kruger National Park from 22th to 26th May 2016.

The CSG is represented by over 600 member who are international network of experts from 57 countries under the Species Survival Commission (SSC) of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (the CITES) which came in force in 1975.

The work of the CSG in the conservation of crocodilians through sustainable use is unparalleled amongst the listed endangered species and serves as a legacy for others to follow.

On 26th May 2016 Hon. Minister of Trade and Industry Dr. Rob Davies addressed 350 delegates from 40 countries and appreciated the CSG chairn1an Prof. Grahame Webb, the Regional Chainnen Ms. Christine Lippai, the Regional Vice Chainnen Mr. Howard Kelly and Miss Allison Leslie for hosting this prestigious event in South Africa.

He appreciated the theme “Crocodiles, Communities and Livelihoods” of this CSG meeting and its importance in creating economic opportunities based on conservation.

“I commend the work done by the University of Pretoria, Exotic Leather SA and the South African Crocodile Industry To page 15 The Nile crocodile produces what is considered to be a “classic” skin and southern African commercial crocodile farmers are exporting to both European and Asian markets.

A recent initiative by the South African government focuses on investments in local skin production, as well as the export of luxury crocodile end-products, which has obvious significant added value and profitability.

There is a consensus in the country that the exotic leather industry in South Africa has untapped potential with regard to job creation and economic growth across the entire value chain.

Through Exotic Leather South Africa (ELSA), communities living alongside crocodilians will receive skills training for improved livelihoods from sustainable use of crocodiles, and small-, medium- and micro-enterprises (SMMEs) will be assisted as part of the supply chain capacity building initiative.

South Africa was proud to host this very productive week of robust discussions and debate relating to a number of crocodile issues including crocodilian science, conservation, management, trade and veterinary science and international delegates were exposed to true South African hospitality at this iconic venue.

A number of initiatives relating to crocodile conservation and the beneficiation of locally produced exotic leather emanated from this meeting and the R95 500 raised at the charity auction has been earmarked to further assist crocodile scientists in addressing the Oliphant’s project in the Kruger National Park. – [+27 (0)83 265 9583, h.kelly@venturenet.co.za]

Crocodile Specialist Group
Mp/10 Ramoshaba (DTI), Dr Rob Davies (Minister of Trade & Industry), Stefan van As (Le Croc and chairman of ELSA), and Robert Schafer (Cape Cobra and ELSA).

From page 14 Association (SACIA) in cooperating to compete and exhibit the capacity of South African Exotic Leather Value Chain at this event”, said the minister. Hon Minister elaborated on the Clothing Textile Competitiveness Programme implementation from 2009 and particularly the excellent turnaround and growth achieved in the leather and footwear sub-sectors.

He infonned that the leather & footwear sub sectors were approved R 1.1 billion incentive from The Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) up and till March 2016 which included approval ofR 795 million in production incentives and the balance grants established one national and four sub-national vertical clusters.

“The Exotic Leather South Africa as a beneficiary of this programme and is responsible for improving the competitiveness, through global positioning, embracing sustainability and vertical traceability of products throughout the South African exotic leather industry and in the very diverse global luxury goods markets”, said the minister. Hon.

Minister infonned that the national support measures from the dti to the general Leather & Footwear industry from 2010 encouraged the capacity expansions by many manufacturers, establishment of 28 new companies, creation of 2200 sustainable jobs, growth in exports by over Rl.O billion mainly through the leather industry and reduction of trade deficit by R 1.5 billion from 2013 to 2015.

The manufacturing of footwear grew from 44 million pairs in 2010 to 62 million pairs in 2015. Giving an example of coffee value chain in which despite majority of raw resources only 6% value addition in Africa he insisted quality value addition in the crocodile leather value chain and that all crocodile fanners in South Africa and Southern Africa to work together to create a regional value chain and receive benefits from the extensive competitiveness and beneficiation research planned under Exotic Leather SA in partnership with University of Pretoria.

He insisted promotion of the export of finished high-value added exotic leather accessories from the upstream crocodile and ostrich fanning.

Hon. Minister appreciated the remarkable contribution made by the scientists in Veterinary, Genetics, Behavioral Ecology, and Crocodilian Husbandry & Conservation Biology for sustainable use at this CSG working meeting in South Africa.

Hon. Minister acknowledge the efforts in coordinating sector progress by Howard Kelly, Stefan van As, Prof. Gerry Swan, Prof Jan Myburgh, Robert Schafer, other board members and all manufacturers in the South African Exotic Leather value chain.

Finally, my appreciation to all delegates in attendance and I trust you have had a fruitful and enjoyable stay in South Africa said Minister Davies. After his address the Hon. Minister was invited to participate in the panel discussions.

Prof. Grahame Webb infonned importance of involvement of industry in enhancing commercial and conservation value balance. He insisted the importance of science and acknowledged that South Africa has top scientists but their role in the value chain enhancement need to be appreciated.

Hon. Minister advised regional value chain integration, promotion of high value added luxury good accessories, inclusive community participation, transfonnation in the existing value chains and that Exotic Leather SA to be utilized as a scientific infrastructure by the countries in Southern African region.

Hon. Minister visited Exotic Leather SA exhibition and was appraised Stefan van As, Prof Jan Myburgh and Robert Schafer on local manufacturing capabilities and future potentials within the international luxury goods markets.