Few tanners remain21 May 2002
The Kenyan tanning industry has witnessed a decline in recent years along with the local leather manufacturing industry. Following the recent closure of LIK plant (Leather Industries of Kenya), the only substantial finished leather tannery remaining is the Bata Tannery and the only major wet-blue tannery is Bulleys. Bata Kenya have a modern well equipped tannery with a capacity of 500,000 sq ft per month of finished leather and additional capacity for wet-blue. The leather produced is mainly bovine with a small quantity of goat skins and camel hides, and is principally for Bata's own shoe production. Locally, Bata produce a variety of leathers for other shoe manufacturers as well as upholstery, clothing, bags and sporting goods manufacturers, some of whom export their products to Europe and north America. Bata have developed a growing export business and are currently exporting finished leather to a number of customers in South Africa, Uganda, Tanzania and Malawi. In addition, contract tanning to wet-blue is undertaken for several clients. The retail market in Kenya is very unsophisticated and unstructured with no national footwear chain stores and only a few organised independents. The majority of footwear is sold through wholesalers to general dealers, street vendors and market stalls.