Contrary to the huge potential of leather products, exports of the leather industry have remained stagnant at $1 billion for the last five years, says a top industry man, insisting that just a bit of support from the Ministry of Commerce can push exports to $3 billion in three years and make the industry the second biggest after textile.
“Leather quality of Pakistan is second only to Italy, but its exports of leather products are static, in fact they have declined in the financial year 2011-12,” said Pakistan Tanners Association Chairman Agha Saiddain.
Citing growth of other countries, he said, exports of India’s leather industry grew to $4.86 billion in 2011-12 from around $1.96 billion per annum in the 1990s. Bangladesh’s exports of leather products have increased by 17 per cent and Ethiopia’s exports have doubled in the last three years.
“All countries including China have recorded growth in exports of leather and its products and the only country lagging behind is Pakistan,” he remarked.
Globally, the imports of leather and its products rose from $80.2 billion in 2001 to $137.96 billion in 2010. According to Saiddain, though South Asia accounts for 26 per cent of the global population of cattle, buffalo, sheep and goat, it has only a 3.57 per cent share in global exports. On the other hand, Vietnam alone enjoyed 6.22 per cent of global leather exports with bare minimum animal population compared to India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, he said.
With limited animal population, Italy also enjoys a 13 per cent share in the global market. However, most prominent among them is China, which has a huge 37.5 per cent global market share in leather trade.
“One reason for this excellent performance of China is value addition of 29 per cent in the industry compared to 18 per cent in South Asia,” Saiddain said.