Products of Traditional Tanning Processes

Africa Leather and Leather Product Institute (ALLPI) is used to make different interventional activities informed by the results of needs assessment in Member and non-member states to create productive and competitive African Leather sector in the Global Arena.

In line with this, a need assessment activity was conducted in Bahirdar Amhara region, Ethiopia by ALLPI experts Mr. Nasir Talab (Cluster Development expert) and Mrs. Birkinesh Gonfa (Investment, Trade and marketing Expert) as per ALLPI’s yearly plan activity for Ethiopia.

The Bahirdar city Trade Bureau had arranged experts for this activity for the smooth implementation of the planned activity as per the prior communication to the activity.

The General objective of the need assessment conducted in Bahirdar/Amhara Region-Ethiopia was to identify collaboration areas with Stakeholders to increase the competitiveness of artisans in the leather sector by identifying the specific challenges along value chain in the region.

The participants in the needs assessment exercise were Traditional tanners, Producers of Traditional Leather products, Leather products SME’s, Bahirdar Tannery, Bahirdar University.
Site visits, structured questionnaire, and conducting meetings were used as a means of assessing the needs of the respective leather enterprises, and the University.

Traditional Way of Leather Tanning Process in Bahirdar Area

The traditional tanners are doing the tanning activity in their homes in residential areas. Their number estimated at approximately 300.  Discussions were made with selected producers in their working premises by visiting the production areas of the tanners and various issues were discussed. They process five hides on average per week and they sell to producers of traditional Leather products.   The raw hide price is 50-60 ETB (US$ 1.7 - 2.1) per piece and after the processing the price is around ETB 250-500 (USD 8.6 – 17.3). Regarding Raw material availability, they get raw hides from private abattoirs that provide meat for hotels and households.

ALLPI  proposed areas of intervention with  this segment ( traditional tanners) are:

  • Training in vegetable tanning to improve the quality of the leather they produced;
  • Provision of modern equipment because they use rudimentary equipment;
  • They need to cluster themselves to address the issue of the working premises, water, electricity and the disposal of waste;
  • By clustering themselves they can improve the bargaining power with services providers and with the market;

The ALLPI Experts team also visited the traditional leather product producers who sell their products mostly to Tourists and big hotels who promote Ethiopian culture. They produce and sell their products at the same place at the city center.

Traditional Leather Products Produced by SMEs in Bahir dar Area

From the discussion made with them the following challenges were highlighted:

  • Working premises are very small taking into consideration they produce and sell in same places (workshops and sell outlets are in one place)
  • They face problem in access to finance in general and the affordable finance in particular to increase their production and productivity
  • They need equipment to improve the quality and productivity of their products

For the leather product producers, the government provided production premises at a lowest rent price they sell their products in the town. The discussion points and the problems raised were- Lack in access to finance, lack in leather goods and footwear accessories, they didn’t organize themselves in sort of cluster or association.

SMEs while making leather products
Leather Products Produced by SMEs

The ALLPI Team also visited and held a discussion with Bahirdar tannery owner and manager, the only modern tannery in Bahirdar for a possible collaboration regarding finished leather supply. This tannery is mainly exporting finished leather to Europe and other Asian country. They constructed sister company which produces working and dressing Glove for foreign market. This factory wanted to buy pickle and wet blue from other African countries and ALLPI team shared the information to possible suppliers after the discussion held.

Visit to Bahirdar Tannery

ALLPI Team organized a meeting with government representatives (Bahirdar Trade Bureau), private sector representative (Traditional Tanners, Traditional Leather product Producers, Leather product producers ) and Bahirdar University  with the objective of collaboration for  identified problems during the visit.

Participants in this consultation meeting were drawn from the following sectors:

  • Bahirdar University – Academia
  • Bahirdar Trade Bureau – Public sector
  • Traditional tanners and footwear & leather goods producers - Private sector

ALLPI will work hand in hand with the stakeholders in Bahir Dar to address step-by-step the challenges which were identified by different level of the value chain.

Discussion with Stakeholders in Bahirdar

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Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.