Kenya set-up a ‘Leather Council’

17 May 2012

Local media reports say that a Kenya Leather Council has been set up to promote the development of the sector which has been plagued by poor quality hides mostly because of unwanted scratches or cuts caused during slaughter.

The Kenyan Ministry of Industrialisation wants to grow revenues in the leather and tanning industry from the current Sh6 billion (US$4.2 million) annually to Sh9-10 billion (US$6.3-7.0 million) by 2013, officials have said. Industrialisation Assistant Minister Nderitu Muriithi said strategies to do this would include the development of clusters for the industry, the use of incentives and additional research.

He spoke when he opened a two-day leather industry conference and exhibition in Nairobi on May 14.The exhibition sought to showcase finished products made locally from leather. ‘We are employing 17,000 people already and we expect this to grow,’ Muriithi said. ‘As we promote domestic production of finished products, we expect this to grow to over 100,000.’ The minister said a pilot tanning process has been introduced to scale up production of leather in the country.

Njeru said the ministry is pushing for proposals in the upcoming national budget that will make it more attractive to export leather products through removal of certain tariffs. Value addition to export processed leather rather than raw hides is also a priority. Kenya imports shoes from countries such as Italy and Egypt after they import raw hides from Kenya.

The exhibition is the first of its kind to be held in the country. Exhibitors showed off shoes, belts and bags made from leather. ‘The reason we are here is to showcase what is available from and within the leather sector,’ Joseph Njeru who coordinates the Micro and Small Enterprises Competitiveness Project at the Ministry said.

Source: The Star

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