•The leather and related products sub-sector grew by 15.6% in 2021 mainly due to an increase of 30.5% in finished leather, the Economic Survey 2022 indicates.
•Even so, the value of leather exports shrunk to Sh1.9 billion from Sh2.1 billion in 2020.
The Tanners Association of Kenya has urged the government to come up with laws that will help address issues stalling the growth of the leather industry.
Speaking to the press on Thursday, at the Reddamac Leather Company, the association chairman Robert Nzioka said the process to come up with the right policies started years ago, but later stalled.
“Though the Kenya Leather Development Council had initiated the process of getting some policies, we are aware that the process later stalled. We urge the state to help us finalise them,” he said.
He said there are at least four key policies that need to be finalised to make the leather industry vibrant.
"Industry complaints to KRA are not addressed in time and stocks are held at the port waiting for testing," Nzioka said.
There are also concerns over delays in clearing chemicals needed by the industry, with players incurring heavy storage charges while forced to stop operations.
The chairman also pointed out issues of illegal hides and skins, ground dying and illegal exports following the reduction of export duty from Sh80 to Sh5o.
Livestock keepers have also been urged to be keen on quality.
“ Before the onset of ground drying and challenges of poor quality of locally produced hides, we dealt with poor animal husbandry and slaughter operations. Deliberate destruction has worsened the situation,” he said.
He faulted remarks by Mogotio MP on unprocessed leather prices.
“It is unfortunate the MP can utter such remarks. We urge him to fast understand how this business operates before speaking. Most hides are of poor quality and the association has done everything to make traders in the field enjoy the business," he said.
He thanked President William Ruto for his commitment to improving the leather industry.
The leather and related products sub-sector grew by 15.6 per cent in 2021 mainly due to an increase of 30.5 per cent in finished leather, the Economic Survey 2022 indicates.
Similarly, the production of footwear with uppers of leather and those with outer soles and uppers of rubber or plastic increased by 22.9 and 5.7 per cent, respectively during the review period.
The sub-sector remains key in Export Processing Zones (EPZ) which have made positive contributions to the economy, alongside textile and apparel.
Even so, the value of leather exports shrunk to Sh1.9 billion from Sh2.1 billion in 2020.