ADDIS ABABA-Ethiopian leather and leather product exporters are looking for the government support to tackle challenges and penetrate the international market.
Although the acceptance of Ethiopian leather product in the international market is increasing, the government should provide support to overcome the challenges in the sector, the exporters said.
Kabana Design PLC CEO and Co-founder Semhal Guesh told the Ethiopia Press Agency (EPA)that the leather market has seen a remarkable improvement after covid-19 pandemic.
“The Ethiopian leather product has great customers at the international market. However, there are some challenges such as lack of quality leather materials, accessories, and zippers for the leather bags we made,” she said.
To give impetus to the industry, Semhal suggested that the government should provide accessories for free or produce them locally to save costs and address Ethiopia’s shortage of foreign currency.
This would enable Ethiopia to provide high-quality leather products to the international market and potentially earning foreign currency, she noted.
Her company, Kabana Design is a manufacturing plantwhich produce and supply leather bagsand shoes to the international markets.
She stated that the company is supportingcountry’s plan of becoming a middle-income country by 2025 through contributing to national GDP, job creation and poverty alleviation efforts.
Kabana Design exports leather bags and shoes to U.S. and Europe markets and it has createdsome130 permanent and temporary jobs, Semhal added.
Leather alone cannot be a bagas it needs additional accessories and zippers to become a finished product, she said, adding “We could not find accessories in the domestic market that’s why we are importing inputs from abroad.”
Ethio-Leather Industry PLC Marketing Manager Ethiopia Tadesse on her part said that there are great opportunities to promote and sell Ethiopian leather products as it has acceptance at the international market.
“We have been exporting leather products such as shoes, bags, garments, jackets and others to Asian, African, European and American countries including Italy, China and Indonesia for the las tpast 70 years. We are also supplying leather products for domestic market, “Ethiopia said.
She added that the government should support Ethiopia’s leather industry by addressing gaps in addressing challenges related to quality issues, accessories, and foreign currency shortages.
Asthiopia Production Manager Tesfaye Beyene expressed that the government has been supporting the sector as it hires anumber of employees.
Asthiopia is producing women’s bags in various designs and supplying for domestic customers and commenced the process to begin exporting.
BY ESSEYE MENGISTE
THE ETHIOPIAN HERALD TUESDAY 7 NOVEMBER 2023