Stakeholders in the hide and skin sector have called on producers of leather to adopt international best practices, guiding leather production, so that the raw material could meet international standards.
Dr Solomon Tanko, President, Society of Leather Technologists and Chemists of Nigeria (SLTCN) at the 4th Annual National Conference in Abuja.
The conference has ” Raw Material Sourcing and Innovative Research for Leather Industry: A Panacea to National Economic Transformation” as theme.
He said such practices would also enable Nigerian leather better prepared for export and receive international recognition and earn the nation more revenue.
Tanko said best practices in the production of leather became imperative because the quality of leather obtained from hide and skin, produced in Nigeria, fell short of quality being demanded at the global market in leather.
” A high percentage of the leathers produced from hide and skin in the country are of low quality due to poor quality of hides and skins.
“This is as a result of non adherence to best practices in animal husbandry and abattoir practices.
” It is, therefore, pertinent for the country to adopt international best practices that will enhance our raw material and productivity,” he said.
Tanko said the theme of the conference was adopted to look into the challenges facing the leather industry in Nigeria.
He also noted that most tannery chemicals used in leather production, were imported, adding that this increased production cost and not accessible by many leather producers.
He urged government to put the leather sector on the high perspective, through the National leather and Leather Product Policy, for the nation to chart the cause of ensuring lasting solution to issues bordering on the leather sector.
According to him, the sector which seems to have been neglected has a global trade value put at over 100 billion dollars.
He said SLTCN encouraged collaboration with relevant agencies and bodies aimed at synergising stakeholders toward developing a formidable force for the development of leather industry in the country.
Earlier in his presentation, the Director-General/Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Institute of Leather and Science Technology (NILEST), Dr Eucharia Oparah noted that the leather industry occupied prominent place in the Nigerian economy.
According to her, the product has the potential for employment, wealth creation and export, if effectively harnessed.
She said, “Being a major productive sector next to the petroleum industry in terms of Foriegn exchange earning, leather is considered critical in achieving economic diversification.“
She said that with adherence to the National Leather policy, “eminent challenges“ facing the industry could be addressed.
Oparah said that the National Leather and Leather Products Policy came into existence with a view to facilitating the development of the sector.
Contributing, the Director-General/Chief Executive Officer, Raw Materials Research and Development Council, Prof. J. T Barminas, said that the council had robust raw materials waiting for harnessing to increase the nation’s revenue and generate employment.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that conference was attended by key stakeholders in the hide and leather sector, in and outside the FCT. (NAN)