Leather exports in India are projected to reach US$14 billion by 2017 according to the Council for Leather Exports (CLE).
"We expect leather exports to touch US$14 billion by the end of the 12th Five- Year Plan (2017)," said CLE executive director R Ramesh Kumar. "In the last fiscal, leather exports grew by 3% to US$5 billion." Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a function organised by Italian based Riva del Gora, Kumar added that demand in the US and European markets, which together account for 65% of India's total leather exports, has been sluggish.
The CLE has also said that the industry's current number of employees, 2.5 million, may well double to 5 million as exports increase. India's leather hubs are focused in Pondicherry, Chennai, Mumbai, Bangalore, Agra, Kanpur and Kolkata.
When asked about plans to increase Indian leather exports, Kumar said, "our strategy includes doubling our existing 1% share in the American market, and exploring new markets like Russia, Japan and Latin America." He added: "By providing more jobs to people, the standard of living will increase as most of them are underprivileged."
70% of those currently employed in the sector are women.