THE leather sector is set for revival with the appointment of an eight member task force that will spearhead local leather industry recovery efforts.
The Leather Development Taskforce, was named by the Ministry of Industrialization and Enterprise Development Cabinet secretary Adan Mohamed on Friday.
According to the ministry, it comprises of leading local leather sector players from the private and public sector and it will serve for a one year with a mandate to oversee the implementation of the leather development strategy.
Those appointed include: Bata Shoe Company chief executive Alberto Errico, Samuel Kiruthu director of Leather Technologies and Fashions Limited, Sambasiva Rao the managing director Alpharama Limited, and John Muriuki the CEO of Kenya Leather Development Council.
Other members are: Erastus Kimuri the director of industries, Robert Njoka veteran Leather Trader, Yassin Awale the Executive Director of Sagana Tanneries, Leading leather goods entrepreneur Nalina Rupani and Mumtaz Mughal of Leather Life EPZ.
"This Task force, has been appointed with a clear brief to share their experience on how the leather sector can be sustainably developed to create jobs and facilitate its development in Kenya," the cs said.
He said the team will map out avenues to ensure the efficient delivery and supply of leather products required by public sector consumers such as the Armed Forces and National Police Service.
"It will also evaluate viable models to be adopted in an engagement program by the ministry in order to help county governments to establish modern abattoirs' and regional tanneries," he said.
The leather sector has been identified by the ministry as a key pillar in the national industrialization roadmap as it has a capacity to make an economic contribution of up to $630million (Sh55.29 billion) of the gross domestic product.
However, the sector's performance has deteriorated over time despite a heavy demand of up to 28million units of leather. The ministry attributes the low performance to imported leather which is preferred by consumers due to low price.
The CS noted the current local supply of leather stands at four million units annually which has created a deficit of more than 24 million leather units.
"The local leather production capacity has been progressively hampered by low production capacity at the grassroots' level. These has led to loss of more than 85 per cent of raw skins due to damage or poor handling during slaughter," he said.