LAHORE: A lack of awareness, hot weather and power outages damage around 25% of hides and skins of sacrificial animals every year on the occasion of Eidul Azha, inflicting an estimated loss of about Rs1.5 billion on the tanneries and dealers, a top industry man said.
Briefing Punjab Livestock Secretary Nasim Sadiq during a meeting, Pakistan Tanners Association (PTA) Regional Chairman Azam Malik said apart from the direct loss of around Rs1.5 billion, the country might suffer an additional loss of over $400 million if an extensive awareness drive was not launched for the preservation of hides and skins.
Warning sounded over sale of sacrificial animals
Representatives of leading non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and welfare organisations were present in the meeting.
He, however, praised the Punjab Livestock Department for timely arranging the meeting with PTA and other stakeholders and sending postcards bearing messages for preserving the hides and skins on Eid to 25,000 prayer leaders of mosques in 36 districts of Punjab. The department has also arranged publication and dispatch of 1.6 million pamphlets to all NGOs at the district level, welfare organisations/educational and health institutions in Punjab.
Malik pointed out that Pakistan was one of the biggest markets of raw hides and skins in Asia and about 30-40% of the total produce was generated only on the occasion of Eid.
Eidul Azha has great importance for the rural economy as the tanning industry purchases about 30-40% of its raw material during these days.
He, however, decried that for the past many years, tanneries had been supplied very limited gas, besides prolonged suspension of power supply in Punjab. He asked the government to exempt the industry from gas and power outages at least during the hot and humid climate.
Sale of sacrificial animals goes digital
Animal skins are a perishable item and they cannot be stored without processing, which requires uninterrupted supply of electricity and gas.
Hides are a basic raw material for the leather industry that are used to produce leather garments, bags, footwear and gloves. These goods are also exported to overseas markets. Malik was of the view that hides were generally damaged by unprofessional butchers. Moreover, a big quantity is also wasted because of lack of appropriate knowledge of their preservation.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 29th, 2017.
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