Wednesday, December 1, 2010



V.M. Khaleelur Rahman

The general feeling in the leather market is that there is good demand for various descriptions of goat, sheep, kip and calf leathers from both domestic and overseas buyers but the prices payable by them are unworkable. Some of the merchant-exporters who have entered into contracts for bulk quantities are finding it difficult to cover their requirements of raw, wet blue or tanned skins/hides in the markets in Chennai and other places.

There are many customers in the Chennai leather market who are buying tanned goat skins R/V/IF at around Rs.45/- and All Suedes at around Rs.39/-, A/B/C Lining at around Rs.32/29/27 and Rejection at around Rs.24/- per sq.ft. but availability of goods is limited and the present arrivals contain monsoon defects and hence contract is not easy. There is also good demand for sheep nappa and other items in Vaniyambadi and wet blue cow hides in Erode.

Prices of raw hides and skins have also gone up considerably in almost all centres in the country and abroad. For example raw goat skins are sold at around Rs.130/- per piece in states like Andhra Pradesh and Kernataka and much higher in places like Miraj where quality is better. Many small tanners have given up doing tanned skins due to the prevailing increased prices of raw skins and unworkable level of prices available for tanned skins in the Chennai market.


There is good demand for goat upper and lining leathers, sheep nappa and suede leather etc. in the overseas markets at different prices depending on the quality and selection. It is learnt that Hong Kong and Korean customers are interested in F/C goat upper and lining leathers at around US$1.80 and 1.10 per sq.ft. respectively whereas S/C goat garment suede leathers are salable at around US$2.00 per sq.ft. European customers are also buying goat lining leathers TR-1/2/3 at around US$1.10/1.00/0.90 per sq.ft. as usual.

Demand also continues for F/C sheep suede leathers – All Suedes, LDT and Rejection at around US$2.50, 1.90 and 1.40 per sq.ft. respectively. Sheep lining leathers are sold at around US$1.20 per sq.ft..


Many domestic shoe manufacturers also buy sheep lining leathers at around Rs.50/- per sq.ft. from tanneries in Vaniyambadi. This town is well known for its bulk supplies of different varieties of sheep leathers. Garment and shoe manufacturers in different parts of our country cover their requirements of finished leathers such as nappa, suede, cabretta and lining leathers from this popular centre with quite a large number of tanneries. While Ambur enjoys the reputation for its sophisticated shoe factories producing world class footwears, Vaniyambadi is popular for its tanneries producing high class sheep nappa, suede and Cabretta leathers.


The leather industry plays an important role in the Indian economy. It is one of the top foreign exchange earners for the country. India’s export of leather and leather products was to the tune of US $3400 million during the year 2009-10 and it is providing employment opportunities to lakhs of people. The governments at the Centre and in the States are interested in its growth and development and extend all support to it. There is every possibility of increase in this export figure in the coming year 2010-11.

The Leather Industry holds a prominent place in the Indian economy. This sector is known for its consistency in high export earnings and it is among the top ten foreign exchange earners for the country.


Nobody sacrifices any animal for its skin or hide. This being the case, the much publicized letter in the media written by the former “Baywatch” star Pamela Anderson (who participated in the reality show ‘Big Boss 4’ in India) to the hon’ble Prime Minister, Mr. Manmohan Singh urging all to reject all leather products “in order to help put an end to animal suffering” holds no water to say the least. She has done this deliberately perhaps just for the sake of publicity knowing pretty well that her proposal is impracticable and no government will implement it as it is fraught with dangerous economic consequences. The fact is that the leather industry is making the best use of the already available raw hides and skins by proper procurement, tanning and finishing without allowing them to be wasted by putrefaction and earning the invaluable foreign exchange for the nation. Her proposal cannot be a solution to prevent cruelty to animals. However the interest she has shown for helpless animals for whatever reason it may be is, no doubt, appreciable.

The government should do the needful to see that the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 is implemented properly. It should be clear to all that putting an animal to any cruelty is an offence and punishable under this Act and it is also a sin according to all faiths.

The leather associations in different parts of the country should also take a note of this and create awareness among the people to prevent cruelty to animals. (VMK in Indian Leather, December 2010)


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