LEATHER INDUSTRY OF PAKISTAN
S.M. ALAM, M.A. KHAN, & BARKAT KHANZADA
Feb 8 - 14, 2010
Leather as raw material is obtained from the hides and skins by slaughtering of animals such as buffalo, cow, heifer, calf, ox, goat, camel, sheep, lamb etc.
The livestock is an important sector of the country. Dairy and meat farms constitute a significant portion of the livestock sector contributing 49% of agricultural value-added and 11.5% to GDP.
Pakistan being the 4th largest milk producing country in the world has huge potential for further contribution in the national economy.
Pakistan is endowed with a large livestock population. It is an important sub-sector of agriculture and assumes a pivotal position in the whole economic strategy of Pakistan. The sector is closely linked to crop product and population. It covers significant percent of the agriculture value-added and in providing directly or indirectly employment to about 50% of the rural population.
It represents about 12.3% of the total exports. Besides, being a source of milk, meat and eggs, livestock provides raw materials to agriculture sector and others and industrial raw material such as hides and skins.
The country also earns sizeable amount of foreign exchange from the export of various livestock products. Pakistan is lucky in having two best tropically breed of buffaloes, such as Nili-Ravi and Kundi breeds, eight recognized breed of cattle of Holstein Friesian and Jersey breeds as well as Sahiwal, Red Sindhi and Thari, Dera Din Pench, Beetal, Nachi and Kamori goats, Lohi, Kjli, Keghani, and Damani and Salt Range sheep.
In the year 2008, the domestic livestock population is estimated at 28 million buffaloes, 30 million cattle, 26 million sheep, 55 million goats, 0.8 million camels, 0.3 million horses, 0.3 million mules, 3.1 million donkeys, and 164.6 million poultry.
For the year 2008, they produced 32 million tons milk, beef 15 million tons , 566 x 103 tons mutton, 333 x 103 tons poultry meat, 39.2 x 103 tons wool, 18.6 x 103 tons hair, 333.7 x 103 tons bones, 124 x 103 tons fats, 10 million eggs, 8.6 million hides, 42.6 million skins, and 40x103 tons of blood.
The hides and skins of only the 'Halal' animals as mentioned above are the main source of finished leather products in the local industry. Pakistan has a prominent place in the management of hides and skins through its livestock sector for its leather industry.
The leather industry of the country totally depends on the availability of only hides and skins of lawful animals. These animals are predominantly available in the country, and the population of such animals which are mainly meant for obtaining meat, mutton and hides and skins are million in numbers.
About three decades back the population of such animals in the country was not as remarkable numbers as it is today. At the present, the good population of livestock in the country is mainly due to proper breeding, nourishment and growth of sufficient fodders and supply of proper feed to the animals in the country.
According to the livestock census 2006, the share of livestock in agriculture GDP almost doubled from 25% to 49% only in 10 years ended 2006.
As per the census, the cattle population increased by 45 percent from 20 million to 29.5 million. Among these, buffaloes' population increased with a much stronger pace of 45% followed by goat 31 percent and sheep and camel population 13% each.
The substantial increase in the livestock population particularly the cattle which is the main source of hides and skins as raw materials for leather and leather goods clearly shows that Pakistan's leather industry now has access to abundant raw materials.
The increase in the cattle population and meat production means availability of more animal skins to the leather industry.
The elite and affluent population of the country has very great desire to use meat and mutton in every dinner, buffet, lunch and other parties.
During Eidul-Azha millions of animals are slaughtered in the country to commemorate the Sunate Ibrahimi (RA). Only in three days of Quarbani (slaughtering) during the mega Muslim occasion, millions of hides and skins are collected in the country. In addition, the daily slaughtering of the animals are also exceptionally very high.
Overall the annual collection of hides and skins are million in numbers. The hides and skins which are in raw forms are converted into leather by the application of varieties of chemical substances containing tannin, tannic acid, or many other different agents.
In the country, every big city has tannery factory. Such tannery factories are in Karachi, Lahore, Faisalabad, Peshawar, Multan, Hyderabad, Gujranwala, Rawalpindi, Quetta, Kasur, and even in many small towns and villages across Pakistan.
These factories have facilities to tan the raw hides and skins using different chemicals. In this way, leather is obtained and through these leathers, many different textile items are made.
Kasur, a small city in the province of the Punjab, has the largest numbers of tannery factory in the country. Similarly, the city of Karachi in Sindh has also a large number of tannery factories and these are mainly located in SITE and Korangi.
The finished leather products are used in the preparation of leather goods such as jackets, sport shoes (boots, joggers), wallets, gloves, sports goods such as football, boxes, hand bags, lady belts, brief cases, buttons, zips, rivets, fashion gloves etc.
In the year 2008, the country produced 40.2 million meter hides of goat and sheep and 8.6 million meter hides of buffalo. Pakistan earns substantial foreign exchange revenue through exports of leather products.
Leather goods play an important role in the economy of Pakistan. Pakistan enjoys an excellent position in the world for quality of its skins and hides. The skins and hides of the cattle are thicker and glossy.
Presently, the whole system of leather industry needs improvement and restructuring of its processing facilities as well as relief in taxes.