The Ethiopian Leather Industry Development Institute said it is working towards enhancing leather industries productivity thereby boosting the export earnings from the sector.
Institute Communication head Birhanu Serjabo told The Ethiopia Herald that the institute is undertaking research to tackle the sector problems, providing training for professionals from technical colleges and universities up to PhD level, providing consultancy service to leather industries.
The head said the institute popularize the latest technologies including importing various machineries.
In addition, the government is providing support for the incoming foreign companies through feasibility studies before starting business and tax holidays. It is also facilitating both local and foreign market opportunities, he said.
According to Birhanu, previously the nation has been exporting raw leather and hides with no value addition but since 2004 exporting raw leather has been reduced significantly and processed leather including jackets, shoes and glove have became dominant.
Exporting qualified processed leather enable the nation to attract foreign investors in the sector and installed their factories here, he said adding this would bring benefits through the creating of jobs for local workers and technology transfer and lessons from marketing techniques. Currently, the leather industries have so far created 20,000 jobs in the country.
Though the sector enjoys tremendous support from the government there are still challenges that need to be addressed. The prevalence of cattle diseases which affects the marketability of the raw skin, improper slaughter of animals and neatness are the major ones, he said.
The trend in the rural part of the country slaughtering animals is for the sake of their meet regardless of worrying the market demand of the skin. As the result huge proportion of animals' skin left unused. Hence, he said extensive awareness raising activities are underway to improve the situation.
With regards to tackling cattle skin diseases, the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries has been working across the country for positive outcomes, according to him.