Speaking at a recent Pastoral Leaders Forum at Keekorok Lodge, Maasai Mara in Narok County, Ruto said the country is losing billions of shillings in the export of raw materials related to hides and skins, and in import of finished leather products. He said the new initiative will create many jobs once the plants are fully operational.  “The industries will stop exporting raw materials to other countries, providing Kenyans with the opportunity to sell their products locally and at a better price,” he said. “The country will now become an exporter of processed items after satisfying the local market,” he said, adding that the money to be invested in the industry will be reflected in next year’s budget.

Research has showed Kenya produces 2.4 million hides, six million small skins and 20,000 camel hides in the recent past, all dependent largely on the livestock resource base from the arid and semi-arid land areas which contribute most to the slaughter figures. Kenya also earns about Sh4 billion (US$43.6 million) from exports of semi-processed leather and raw materials.

Statistics from the Leather Development Centre, part of the Kenyan Industrial Research and Development Institute, indicates that only eight percent of the value is accounted for by exporting raw hides and skins, compared with 86% for finished leather.

Source: Standard Media