A development initiative by the Sri Lankan government will provide infrastructure, equipment and training to 14 villages involved in leather production. The first phase of the Rs4million (US$40,040) ‘Gurupaheyen Ranpaheyata’ (which means from brown to gold) programme aims to develop rural industry in a total of 200 industrial villages across the country.

The traditional leather manufacturing industry of Vadri-Karavadi village, situated in the Jaffna district of the northern province will be one of the beneficiaries. Vadri-Karavadi has a long history of manufacturing leather products. As early as 1914, the village was well known for footwear manufacturing. In 1955 leather producers in the village began a cooperative for shoe manufacturers. By this time, the market for goods produced in the village had extended across the island.

However, as a result of the ongoing civil unrest the country has experienced, production has gone down in line with the shrinking market. Today, the market remains limited to the Jaffna and Vavuniya districts in the north of Sri Lanka. The leather sector currently employs approximately 100 families in Vadri-Karavadi.