Exports of leather and leather products increased 7.98% during 2005-06 from $2.5 billion to $2.69 billion. M Rafeeque Ahmed, chairman for Council for Leather Exports (CLE) said that the increase was mainly due to the rise in exports of leather footwear and leathergoods.

‘The leather footwear, leathergoods and saddlery and harness sectors have recorded commendable growth in exports over the previous year’, he added.

Ahmed, who is also president of the All India Skin and Hide Tanners and Merchants Association (AISHTMA), told the 89th annual general meeting: ‘There has been a spurt in demand for leather footwear and encouraging signs are seen all round. We hope that 40% of our exports will be in the form of leather footwear’.

However, exports of finished leather, footwear components and leather garments decreased during the same period. CLE sources hope that by collaborating with the National Institute of Fashion Technology, National Institute of Design and Indian Leather Garments Association, leather garment exports will increase in the future.