Bangladesh plans to create two more environmentally friendly leather industrial estates in an effort to procure $5 billion of export income from the sector by 2021.
The announcement was made on Thursday by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during the inaugural three-day leather fair in capital Dhaka.
Hasina urged foreign investors and buyers to invest in Bangladeshi leather and source leather goods from environmentally friendly factories.
Earnings from export of leather and leather products in the fiscal year 2016-17 grew by around 7%, according to the Export Promotion Bureau of Bangladesh.
The government has an income target of $60 billion from exports, with $5 billion from the leather industry, stated Md. Saiful Islam, president of Leathergoods & Footwear Manufacturers & Exporters of Bangladesh (LFMEAB).
Bangladesh is looking for new leather estates, according to sector insiders. A total of 154 toxic factories have relocated to a new processing cluster in Savar from Hazaribagh, which, until recently, was home to 95% of Bangladesh’s leather tanneries.
However, none have the effluent treatment plants required by the country’s environmental and labour laws.
A Chinese company has constructed a central effluent treatment plant at the new leather processing zone. This has created interest for Bangladeshi leather and leather products among global buyers.