Leather industrialists demand raw hides processing factories

KABUL (Pajhwok): Some leather products manufacturers in capital Kabul complain about their dwindling sales and say there are no factories to produce leather from animal skin.
Leather production is a traditional and ancient profession in the history of Afghanistan.
Afghan leather-made bags, shoes, sandals, wallets, belts and other things with their special elegant designs have special customers even in foreign countries.
But some makers of leather products in Kabul complain about their decreased sales.
Fareshta Hashimi, owner of Fereshta Hashimi leather products’ company, told Pajhwok Afghan News recently their sales had decreased.
She established her company with $1,000 capital three years ago and currently she is an instructor and four girls are working in Hashimi company.
Fareshta Hashimi said: “Prior to the political change in the country, our business was quite good, at that time we had 11 employees, but now because of low sales, their number has decreased to five”.
In the past, she said, they would sell 50 bags every week, but now they could not even sell one bag in a week.
But she added the dwindling sales had not upset them and they still continued their work in the hope that their business would bounce back.
Haji Mohammad Tahir, owner of Sultan Leather Products Company in Kabul city, said he has been in the business since 50 years and their company produced different leather belts, backpacks, wallets and bags.
“Our sales have decreased by 80 percent since the political change of August 2021.”
He said they would sell products worth 100,000 afs daily in the past, but now the sales had declined to only 5,000 afs daily.
“Our leather products are expensive while people’s economic situation has deteriorated, that is why our sales are down”, he said.
The prices of their leather products had been normally high since the past, but the prices of similar imported products were much lower, he said: “The Chinese bags and shoes are very cheap compared to Afghan products because of their low quality, the price of a pair of shoes and a bag we produce ranges from 3,000 afs to 5,000 afs”.
He said local products were expensive because raw hides were exported to other countries and then imported back as ready leather to Afghanistan because there were no factories to produce leather from animals’ skins in the country.
Ahmad Fardin Ziayee, head of Handicrafts Products Department, said some locally made leather products were exported to other countries, but the problem was that there were no enough leather processing facilities in the country.
“There are a few facilities for traditional leather production in some parts of our country,” he said.
Ziayee clarified leather produced in foreign countries and then imported to Afghanistan was very expensive.
He also confirmed the decline in sales of leather products and added the Islamic Emirate was supporting domestic products and the cabinet had decided that all governmental bodies must purchase and use domestic products.
Ziayee urged other Afghan traders and businessmen to establish skins and leather processing factories as well.
Sherbaz Kaminzada, Director of Chamber of Industries and Mines (CI&M,) told Pajhwok Afghan News: “We encourage the leather production sector, but unfortunately all leather is imported from other countries while the raw skins are exported to other countries for processing. When the skins are processed to leather, they are imported back from other countries like Pakistan and India”.
“It would be a great work for our country if someone invests in leather production sector, our chamber is ready to talk with such entrepreneurs and to contact the officials of Islamic Emirate to encourage them to create facilities for such investors”.
Kaminzada believed investing in skin and leather processing and production sector will generate many jobs opportunities as well.