• Sunday, May 26, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

The proposed ban on hides and skin is unnecessary

businessday-icon

The dynamics in the leather chain are to a significant extent dependent on the level of performance in the meat and dairy markets and growth trends in the global economy. According to a report by Chemonics International Inc, developed countries, despite the fact that they are the major consumers of finished leather products, export the bulk of raw hides traded globally to developing countries for processing.

These value-adding developing countries, who are unable to keep up with the demand for tanned leather and finished leather products, are constantly seeking new sources of supply and are looking to West Africa as a potential source. With long-term investment, Nigerian stakeholders can potentially share what may develop into a multi-million dollar market; and this increased market will be accompanied by a substantial increase in the industry’s employment level.

This economic potential may have influenced the Minister of Agriculture, Akinwumi Adesina’s recommendation to ban the sale and consumption of hides and skins in the country to boost the leather industry.

The Minister made the recommendation while commending the Nigeria Institute of Animal Science (NIAS) at its 3rd joint anniversary with Animal Science Association of Nigeria (ASAN), for its advocacy and public enlightenment programs aimed at promoting value addition in Livestock, as against sale and consumption of primary products alone, particularly with the issue of curtailing the widespread consumption of hides and skins which ought to be tanned into leather for a very high dollar return to the farmer and Tanneries.

Similarly, the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Bukar Tijjani, last year revealed that Nigeria has over 16 million heads of cattle which account for 40 percent of the sector’s contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Meanwhile, Experts believe that the leather and footwear sub-sector has the ability to contribute as much as 70 percent of Nigeria’s GDP if only it is fully exploited. But Industry growth rate remains very small for hides and skin, which goes into feeding most of the country’s 170 million people.

On the other hand, many Nigerian citizens are aggrieved with government for harbouring plans to prohibit the consumption of hides and skins which has become a delicacy in the country’s cuisine. They opined that the country is engrossed with more serious socio-economic problems that require the government utmost attention than to focus on depriving them from consuming the delicacy. Furthermore, they stated that the delicacy which is cheap should never be banned from the market as it provides a readily available alternative for Nigerians who lack the financial muscle to consume more expensive dairies regularly.

We note that Nigeria faces several challenges to improving its leather production and processing industry. And that a number of problems that have plagued the sector still needs to be addressed in order to enable them to realize their full potential, such as poor quality of hides and skins; poor and deteriorating infrastructure of roads, weak power supply and telecommunication that affect all the components of the supply chain; inadequate levels of technological development; low labour productivity, poor management, and inefficient training services. Let the government focus on these issues and allow the forces of demand and supply to determine production of hides and skin in Nigeria.