Bangladeshi tanners having to source imported rawhides
The import of rawhide into Bangladesh has increased significantly – mainly due to fewer cattle being reared there and the growing export of leather and leathergoods abroad. Statistics released by the Bangladeshi Export Promotion Bureau suggest that the value of leather and leathergoods exports has increased from $255.2 million in 2009-10 to $552.6 million in 2010-11.
The rising trend of rawhide importation led to Bangladeshi companies spending over Tk4.36 billion ($56 million) on imported rawhide last year, from Africa, Brazil, Italy, Latin America and the Middle East. To assist manufacturers using leather in domestic or export products, the government has removed all duty on the import of rawhide.
The National Board of Revenue (NBR) has revealed that 3,111 tonnes of rawhide were imported in 2008-09, 4,059 tonnes during the following fiscal year, and 5,057 tonnes in 2010-11.
According to Abdul Hai, General Secretary of the Bangladesh Tanners’ Association, more than 250 million square feet of rawhide was produced locally in 2006. However, during 2010-2011, the supply was less than 200 million square feet.
“Most of the tanneries pass idle time during the off season, as their production capacities remain unused due to insufficient supply of rawhide,” said Mr Hai. “The tanneries are incurring losses, as they are not able to produce finished leather according to their plan.”
This article was originally published on page 4 of the January 2012 issue of SATRA Bulletin.