New factory to boost city leather industry

Shoe production projected to increase from two to 10 million pairs annually

In Summary

•New facility is being constructed by Nairobi county government and Kenya Leather Development Council.

•Factory expected to provide jobs to over 10,000 residents in three years

A trader works on leather belts at old Kariokor leather market on April 15
HIGH PRODUCTION: A trader works on leather belts at old Kariokor leather market on April 15

City residents will have access to more local leather products after Kariokor Common Leather Factory opens in July. 

Located in Kariokor ward, Starehe subcounty, the multimillion-shilling facility is being constructed by the Nairobi county government and Kenya Leather Development Council. 

Kariokor produces over two million pairs of shoes annually. Production is expected to increase significantly once the new factory is operational. 

Governor Mike Sonko on Monday said the new market will be equipped with modern equipment for better production.

“The facility is expected to have an average annual production growth of 10 million shoes from the current two million. This will increase traders’ annual income to more than Sh1 billion annually by 2022,” Sonko said. 

The contractor has been on site for the last four months and is only remaining with finishing works. 

Nairobi has the highest number of slaughterhouses with an average annual production of 525 tonnes of hides and skins, 1.6 tonnes of goatskin, 31.5 tonnes of calf hides and 199 tonnes of camel hides. 

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Sonko are expected to open the facility. 

Trade executive Allan Igambi said the new market will create job opportunities for the city youths.

"At the moment, old Kariokor market has around 1,000 employees but after the launch of the new market, we are expecting to have at least 10,000 workers in the next three years,Igambi said.

Trade chief officer Fredrick Nzioki said what is left is the installation of equipment. 

“The market has already been built and the equipment has arrived and is stored in Thika by the KLDC,” Nzioki said. 

He said the county government is in talks with the supplier of the equipment since supply and installation was part of the contract. 

Markets director Fredrick Ndunyu said the county will introduce training sessions for employees on how to operate the machines.

“Currently, their products are of good quality but the problem they have been having comes during finishing. When it is hand-done it is not as of good quality as when it is done by the machines, but all this will soon change,” Ndunyu said. 

A management board will be created between the leather council, the county and national government. Other stakeholders will be incorporated to ensure the facility is managed effectively.

(Edited by R.Wamochie)