The 21st India International Leather Fair came to a close in early February following a successful four-day exhibition. The 2006 edition of IILF was said to be the biggest convergence in terms of participation, size, range of products on display, turnout of visitors, importers, buyers of leather and leather products in recent history. With exhibition space up 30% on last year’s total, IILF is possibly the fastest growing exhibition in the leather industry calendar.

The fair covered a net area of 5,800 sq m and attracted 320 companies including 107 from 21 countries overseas – Bangladesh, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Pakistan, Thailand, the Netherlands, the UK, the USA and the Ukraine. The halls were busy on all four days of the fair, proving that India is a force to be reckoned with. Exports of leather and leather products are expected to climb from $2,380 million in 2004-2005 to $5,080 million in 2010-2011.

According to the CLE, the Indian leather industry is poised to increase its market share from 2.5% to 4.5% in the next 3-4 years. The Indian government under the 10th Five Year Plan has provided Rs400 crore for the leather sector. Out of this, Rs290 crore is reserved for modernisation. This includes the creation of a footwear park of around 105 acres near Irugattukottai and another footwear component park of about 28 acres, both in Tamil Nadu. The footwear park will have government assistance of Rs20 crore while the component park with receive more than Rs10 crore. The government of Tamil Nadu will be the implementing agency for the footwear park while the CLE will implement the component park.