Makers of leather products are seeking for a partnership with Brand Kenya- an initiative created by the Kenyan government to position the country optimally in terms of investment, with a view of marking products with a unique identity for export.
A section of industrial players revealed that it was imperative for manufacturers to come together to support formulation of standards to improve local and foreign markets sales.
According to Leather Apex Secretary-General, Beatrice Mwasi, who spoke at a workshop on leather branding in Nairobi, “Kenya needs to create a unified value parameter agreeable to all manufacturers at various levels of the value chain. We need pastoralists to adhere to set herding standards that help improve hides and skin that will later be sent to the tannery”.
She added that “tanneries must in turn agree on price and quality of leather to be sold to Kenyan leather product makers”.
Speakers at the workshop said sale of poor quality and low priced leather by tanneries adversely affected the quality of the finished product, giving them a bad name.
Mwasi noted that “tanneries must agree to discard poor leather and only sell quality leather that helps Kenyan made products compete on the global market. This could unlock new markets as well as generate new jobs”. She also said it is essential for tanneries to diversify into new products, such as camel and fish leather to scale up volumes and variety.
Isaack Noor, the Chief Executive of Kenya Leather Development Council called on associates, tanneries and vendors to unite in order to lobby for formulation of sector standards. He noted that this would create value along the entire chain.
Acting Chief Executive of Brand Kenya, Floice Mukabana also welcomed the setting up of industry wide standards. She said the Kenya Leather Development Council should be involved in approving the benchmarks to create products fit for the Brand Kenya logo.