Pakistan Tanners Association (PTA) is taking measure with all stakeholders to avoid wastage of hides and skins on the occasion of coming on Eidul Azha. According to PTA lack of awareness, hot weather and electricity load shedding damage around 25% hides skins of sacrificial animals every year on Eidul Azha, causing an estimated loss of about Rs.1.5 billion to both tanneries as well as hide dealers. This was stated by PTA regional Chairman Azam Malik while briefing the Punjab Livestock secretary Nasim Sadiq during a meeting also attended by representatives of all leading NGOs, welfare organizations and Agha Saiddain Chairman Committee for the improvement of hides & skins.
He appreciated Punjab Livestock Department Secretary Naseem Sadiq for timely arranging meeting with PTA and other stakeholders for awareness program in 36 districts of Punjab. In addition, the department also arranged publication and dispatch of 1.6 million pamphlets to district level formations of all NGOs, welfare organizations/educational and health care institutions in Punjab.
Azam Malik and all the participants of the meeting appreciated the timely support from Livestock Department, commending Naseem Sadiq’s effort to carry out the task of benefitting the farmers, stakeholders and to the second largest exporting sector of Pakistan. The PTA regional chairman said that apart from direct loss of around Rs.1.5 billion due to animal’s skin damage, the country might suffer additional loss of over $400 million foreign exchange if an extensive and widespread awareness drive is not launched for preservation of hides and skins.
Azam Malik observed that Pakistan is one of the biggest markets of the raw hides and skins in Asia and about 30-40 percent of the total produce is generated only on the occasion of Eid. He said that Eid-ul-Azha has great importance for rural economy, as tanning industry purchases about 30-40 percent of its raw material during Eid.
For the last many years, tanneries have been supplied very limited gas, besides power suspension of long time in Punjab, asking the government to exempt the tanning industry from gas and power loadshedding at least during the hot and humid climate, he said. This is necessary for processing hides before getting putrefaction which entirely damages the raw hides.
The skins, being a perishable item, cannot be stored without processing which requires uninterrupted supply of electricity and gas. Azam Malik pointed out that hides are basic raw material for leather industry to make leather garments, bags, footwear, ballets and gloves. All these goods are exported that generates substantial amount of foreign exchange.
He was of the view that hides are generally damaged due to hiring of unprofessional butchers. Moreover, a big percentage of the hides are wasted because of lacking appropriate knowledge of their preservation. The PTA regional chairman pointed out that if the charity and welfare organizations had taken due care in slaughtering of sacrificial animals, used proper salting immediately after collection of hides and skins as well as made quick delivery to the buying houses the leather industry would transform them into finished leather qualitatively mostly for export.
He recalled that PTA, last year, had also signed an MoU with University of Veterinary & Animal Sciences and European Union’s Pakistan Leather Competitive Improvement Program for “Hides & Skins Preservation”. He informed that under the agreement, PTA arranged a number of seminars in Lahore and Karachi with collaboration of UVAS and PLCIP in view of raising awareness amongst hides and skins collectors on “How to preserve precious stock of hides and skins”.