State steps up bid to add value to leather products

Government plans to carry out a feasibility study on how the leather industry can be enhanced.

Saturday March 19 2016

Industrialisation Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohamed during the launch of the second edition of the SME Handbook at the Laico Regency on October 26, 2015. The government on Friday announced plans to carry out a feasibility study on how the leather industry can be enhanced through value addition ventures. PHOTO |  DIANA NGILA |

Industrialisation Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohamed during the launch of the second edition of the SME Handbook at the Laico Regency on October 26, 2015. The government on Friday announced plans to carry out a feasibility study on how the leather industry can be enhanced through value addition ventures. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By JAMES KARIUKI
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The government on Friday announced plans to carry out a feasibility study on how the leather industry can be enhanced through value addition ventures.

In an announcement in the Daily Nation on Friday, the Kenya Leather Development Council said it urgently requires a comprehensive analysis on the entire state of the leather subsector within the next five months ahead of the planned launch of a Sh17 billion leather industrial park at Kinanie area in Machakos County. The park is currently under development.

On Friday, the council tasked with revitalising the processing and control of trade in raw hides and promotion of manufacturing of leather products across the country said it requires a consultant to carry out the feasibility study.

This, the council said would enable them understand leather-rich regions as well as location of industries that are currently being supported by several tanneries in Kenya.

Currently, Kenya exports half-treated leather known as wet blue after the government banned the exportation of raw hides citing deprivation of raw material to the nascent industry that currently receives a paltry 4 million leather units compared to a demand of 20 million units.

The government’s pledge to revive the subsector has seen it promote training of leather artisans at youth polytechnics while taking deliberate measures to spur local and foreign markets for finished leather products like shoes, bags, belts and hats.

According to Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, the leather subsector has capacity to contribute Sh5.5 billion to the country’s wealth through creation of jobs.