A boost for Kenyan leather
Kenya currently has 17.5 million head of cattle, but only 2.5 million hides are taken annually.
Image © Justinjerez
Kenyans now buy up to 24 million pairs of shoes every year, according to the Kenya Leather Development Council (KLDC), and the market is ripe with opportunities, says Council Head, Dr Mwinyikione Mwinyihija.
The KDLC was set up in 2010 to oversee the trade in hides, skins, leather and leathergoods. The council claims that by the end of this year, the leather industry will surpass the heyday of the 1980s. At that time, the country had 19 tanneries employing some 400 people, with 60 per cent of Kenyan shoe demand being satisfied locally. There are currently 11 tanneries in Kenya, with six more having recently been built under the government’s economic stimulus programme and waiting to be handed over to different communities.
Leather production in Kenya is said to currently be considerably below the potential. For example, the country has 17.5 million head of cattle, but only 2.5 million hides are taken annually. News of the opening of a sole manufacturer last year in Thika, near Nairobi, is being heralded as proving that the market is ripe for locally manufactured footwear. This company is expected to produce 3,000 soles every day, with a second phase planned which will increase daily production to 5,000 pairs.
This article was originally published on page 3 of the June 2012 issue of SATRA Bulletin.