Business confidence restoring in leather sector

2007-12-20__bus021.jpgAs political interference remains no barrier, the leather sector entrepreneurs now feel free to collect rawhide during Eid at an affordable price.
“The rawhide business scenario appears to be different this year in absence of any political interference in the trading we experienced in the past. So we hope a steady market price of the item,” Md Tipu Sultan, chairman, Bangladesh Finished Leather, Leather Goods and Footwear Exporters Association (BFLLFEA) told The Daily Star in an interview.
However, the entrepreneurs already have sought the home ministry support so that the market does not become volatile during the peak season of hide collection.
The association says the local leather industry collects around 40 percent rawhide during Eid-ul-Azha.
Pointing to the usual control of the rawhide market by some politically backed vested interest groups, Tipu said, “If the home ministry intervenes in the rawhide market during the Muslim festival, any price manipulation is unlikely.
Although the BFLLFEA fixed the rate at Tk80 a square feet of rawhide for Dhaka and Tk70 for the region outside the capital, it was maintained partially.
To keep the market sustainable, the BFLLFEA also plans to fix up the hide price by today.
As per an estimate by the association, around 20 lakh people, including 8 lakh hide collectors, will be involved in the purchase of the item this year.
Tipu is very much hopeful of a good collection this season despite a huge number of cattle had died after cyclone Sidr hit the southeast region recently.
He said every year on an average 20 lakh cows and 45 lakh goats are sacrificed during Eid-ul-Azha. The number will be the same this time, he hoped, brushing aside some traders’ anticipation of cattle shortage in the market saying that a considerable number of cattle have already been imported from India.
Besides this, the practice of cattle farming, especially for the Eid-ul-Azha, developed in the last five year. These farmers will also contribute a significant number of cattle to the Eid market, Tipu said.
“So, rawhide collection will be the same as it was collected last year,” the BFLLFEA chief said, expressing however his concern over its preservation.
He said 19 percent of the hide collected perishes due to lack of proper preservation system.
To prevent the huge wastage, in an attempt to create awareness the BFLLFEA is going to launch video documentary, which will be broadcast by Bangladesh Television . Bangladesh produces over 220 million square feet of leather every year, 80 percent of which comes from sacrificed animals during the festival, according to the industry insiders.


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