KARACHI: Supply of hides of sacrificial animals is expected to decline this year as well following a sharp rise in prices of animals and shrinking purchasing power at Eidul Azha, tanners and meat merchants say.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Pakistan Tanners Association former chairman Gulzar Feroz said he expected at least 10 to 15 per cent drop in hide sales this year.
Prices of animals were continuously rising, especially the prices of goats jumped phenomenally this year, which was one of the reasons why the supply of hides might decrease, he said.
Other reason for the rising prices is large-scale smuggling of live animals through porous borders with Afghanistan and Iran. Export and smuggling was estimated at around 150,000 animals per month – a cause for great concern for the leather industry, he added.
According to the industry, they meet 20-30 per cent of raw material shortage from imported hides. “Our exports have jumped over the years and touched $1 billion last fiscal year due to continuous increase in demand for our finished leather goods,” Feroz said, adding the raw material shortage was a real concern.
A meat merchant in Karachi, Sikandar Iqbal Qureshi, said he believed that this year the number of sacrificial animals had dropped by at least 20 per cent owing to harsh economic conditions and rising prices of animals.
Average price of a goat hide ranged from Rs400-600 while cow hide was being sold for Rs2,500-4,000 according to the size of hide, he said.
According to tanners, total skin collection in 2010 fell to half the level in 2006. The industry got over 17 million skins in 2006, 15 million in 2007, 13 million in 2008, 9 million in 2009 and only 8 million in 2010.
Figures for 2011 are expected to be released on Thursday as the Pakistan Tanners Association unveils the data for hide purchase after the third day of Eidul Azha every year.
Tanners say the decline in hide supply is almost equal to the fall in leather exports over the last few years.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 10th, 2011.
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