Bangladesh has seen a dramatic fall in its leather export earnings and rawhide price, and the problems have been attributed to the government's failure to complete an industrial park promised a massive 16 years ago.
Work on the 200-acre park in Savar began in 2003 and as yet the Central Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) is incomplete, while work hasn’t even begun on its dumping yard. Official documentation also suggests the authorities have failed to hand over the deeds to the individual lots to tanners.
Leather industry stakeholders have bemoaned the low price of rawhide, stating that following a three year low, prices have now hit rock bottom.
During Eid, people were seen discarding rawhides on the streets as they failed to get fair prices, despite the fact Bangladesh imported processed leather worth nearly £100 million in the current fiscal year. Because the country’s industrial parks are not environmentally friendly, recognised global brands do not purchase goods made of Bangladeshi leather. This has lead to local footwear manufacturers, like Apex, importing leather to produce goods with.
“If the leather industry had been environment-friendly, we could have exported domestic rawhides to Europe and America. We could even use leather in our factories. But, we can’t,” said Apex Footwear’s deputy managing director Abdul Momen Bhuiyan.