Leather and Leather Products Roundtable
KIPPRA hosted a roundtable on Revitalizing Leather and Leather Products in Kenya on July 5th 2018 at the Fairview Hotel. The aim of the roundtable was to share the preliminary results of a leather and leather products study conducted in 14 counties between 7th and 18th May this year. The forum was, therefore, meant to trigger discussion among stakeholders on how the potential of the sub-sector could be exploited to realize the objectives of the manufacturing sector as stipulated in the Vision 2030, Medium Term Plan III, Special Economic Zone Act and the Big Four Agenda.
The preliminary findings indicated that leather contributes to 2 per cent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The discussion brought out several issues that need to be addressed in the sub-sector, including competitiveness, value addition, incentives along the value chains, investment opportunities and constraints and challenges in the sub-sector.
Tanners and producers of leather products expressed concern at the poor quality of hides and skins in Kenya, with some saying they preferred to import the raw materials from countries such as Malaysia. It was noted that there was need to train farmers and butchers on proper handling of animals as well as the skins and hides to ensure maintenance of quality. Some participants also said it was important to develop and enforce standards to ensure and maintain high quality of Kenyan leather and leather products. It was suggested that stakeholders such as Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBs), Export Promotion Council (EPC) and county governments should work together to improve not only the quality of raw materials but also marketing to make the sub-sector competitive.
The roundtable drew representation from Kenya Leather Development Council, Kenya Association of Manufacturers, Export Processing Zones Authority (EPZA), Rift Valley Leather Ltd, 54er Leather Masters Kenya, Alpharama Ltd, East African Tanneries (K) Limited, Leather Articles Entrepreneurs Association, Athi River Tanneries and the University of Nairobi.
By Paul Odhiambo and Jane Kenda