NAIROBI (HAN) May 1. 2016. Public Diplomacy & Regional Security News. Kenya said on Saturday it plans to put in place stringent rules to ensure that all leather imports meet quality standards.
Ministry of Industry, Investment and Trade Leather Sector Advisor Yassin Awale said in Nairobi that the ministry is working closely with the Kenya Standards of Bureau to ensure that low quality leather products don’t enter Kenya market.
“Artificial leather imports are sold cheaply in Kenya and is affecting the performance of the local leather industry,” Awale said.
“Kenya’s leather industry is facing unfair competition as the public is not able to distinguish between leather and artificial leather products,” he said.
The ministry is also conducting public awareness campaign on the difference between leather and artificial leather products.
“A lot of consumers buy artificial leather products because of lack of knowledge,” Awale added.
The East African nation is stepping up efforts to revive its leather sector through the use of a cluster approach.
The government is also investing in a leather industrial park on the outskirts of the capital city of Nairobi that will include a common effluent treatment plant.
According to Awale, the biggest cost in the leather industry is the cost of mitigating negative environmental effect of chemicals used in leather treatment.
The ministry of industry will also develop a common manufacturing facility for small and medium leather enterprises.
“This will improve the competitiveness of the sector as all the key services will be easily accessible,” Awale said.
He noted that 52 percent of quality loss of raw leather happens after slaughter of livestock through poor transportation and preservation methods.
The advisor said small leather firms lack machinery to produce high quality leather products that can access international markets.