The Council for Leather Exports (CLE) recently said the Indian leather industry expected exports of leather and leather products from India to touch $4 billion by 2010. Leather footwear exports would reach $2.4 billion by 2010.

‘The industry is very bullish. The last five to six years saw growth rates of 6% or so, but things are looking bright now’, said S Audiseshiah, executive director, Council for Leather Exports (CLE).

Exports this year are expected to be around $2 billion. In the first half of this financial year, exports reached $975 million, close to the all-time high of $1 billion achieved three years ago. Audiseshiah said five industrial parks specialised in specific segments of the industry, such as footwear, leather and product components, would soon be set up in the country.

Speaking on ‘Recent trends in the Indian leather industry’ at the annual leather research industry session in Chennai, he said investments were flowing in from countries such as Italy, Spain and Portugal through joint-ventures. He could not quantify the value of investments from Europe but said the investments had materialised after the industry was de-reserved from the small scale sector two years ago.

Saba Industries Pvt Ltd and Tata International have tied up with leather firms from Italy.

Dr T Ramasami, director of Central Leather Research Institute (CLRI), said that India had emerged as a base for colour selection in the global leather trade, with 29 colours of the total 32 colours selected for Mode Europe 2005 coming from India. The colours have been developed by twenty tanneries with the CLRI over a six-month period.

Ramasami said leather technology was evolving rapidly. Leather units in the future will be using biological processing technology rather than the chemical processing technologies being used at present and eleven institutes along with CLRI were working on these technologies.

The industry is looking at ways to minimise the use of water in leather processing and also find new methods for using recycled water. Use of recycled water would reduce dependence on ground water.

Source: Warsaw Business Journal