India on the rise
According to India's Council for Leather Exports (CLE), exports of leather goods is projected to increase by up to 20% to $6 billion by 2014 fiscal end if current trends are any indicator. There's also an industry expectation to reach $14 billion by 2016-17.
At a press conference at this year's International Indian Leather Fair (IILF), which finished on February 3, CLE chairman Rajendra K Jalan (centre) said that leather exports increased in 2012-2013 to an unprecedented $5bn, and that in the first nine months of the current fiscal year, exports increased by 17%.
A couple of days before, during the fair's inauguration ceremony, Jalan emphasised that despite big challenges, these targets are attainable with robust effort. "It is very important that we maintain the consistent growth level of 20% and above in the coming years," he said. Primary challenges to those efforts include establishing the infrastructure to boost production and tap into the potential of the domestic market. "India produces about 2 billion square feet of leather, but this is not enough," Jalan continued regarding the domestic market adding that to reach 2016-17 targets, the industry needs an additional 4 billion square foot of leather.