The Okapuka Tannery has been operational since 1992. It produces 1000 hides per day, equivalent to 250 000 wet blue hides every year. It is a luxury product for export markets although a small quantity is sold locally.
Hides are sourced from all over Namibia including Meatco’s abattoirs and more than half are sourced from South Africa and elsewhere. Hides entering the tannery are either salted or green. Green hides are fresh and come directly from Meatco’s abattoirs.
Hides that come from other suppliers are salted to preserve them. These salted hides have a longer cycle than green hides at the Okapuka Tannery as they have an extra cycle in the turning drums to rehydrate them.
The hydrated hides and green hides are put through a fleshing machine where the fat and meat are removed from the skin. After this the hides are placed in the turning drums again along with a lime mixture. The hair separates from the hides leaving them smooth.
The smooth hides are then transported via a conveyer belt to the tanning drums. Before reaching the drums the hides are trimmed. The smooth, trimmed hides are dropped into the tanning drums along with a mixture of chemicals to treat the hides that are then turned again.
After the hides are removed from the tanning drums, they are put through a shamming machine which squeezes out most of the liquid without leaving the hide leaving completely dry. They are now classifed as marketable, wet blue standard hides and are now ready for processing into upholstery, shoes and other high quality leather products.
Finished hides are then weighed, graded and sorted according to their weight and quality. They are stacked onto pallets and loaded into export containers. Approximately 98% of the hides are transported by rail to Walvis Bay from where they are shipped to Italy. The remainder is sold to smaller markets and locally.
Tel: (+264 61) 238 905