The recent declarations of support from Indian Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu have been met with enthusiasm as well as calls for further government action to protect and nurture the country’s leather industry. Industry group The Council for Leather Exports (CLE) has revealed that it is targeting a growth in exports to $10bn by 2024-25 from the present $5.73bn.

The target was unveiled as the CLE issued its detailed action plan – Strategy for Growth of Leather Sector – that focused on restoring leather as a vital and growing industry on the sub-continent. This is seen as critical given recent falls in output, having reached a peak of $6.49bn in 2014-15).

The CLE highlighted the growth of competitors’ market share as a real challenge. Vietnam, for instance, has seen its exports increase by 46% in recent years, in marked contrast to India’s slowdown.

“This trend is affecting us and we need to scale up quickly,” said CLE Chairman Mukhtarul Amin at a recent function organised by CLE in Chennai

“We need government support in getting land at cheaper rates for mega units and favourable labour laws keeping in view the seasonal nature of the industry, and availability of finance at lower interest rates.”