“The leather standards will level trade in footwear and leather products produced within member states in the East African community by use of comparable standards. Additionally, they will ensure the quality, fitness for use and safety of the footwear products to the users,” said Kebs managing director Bernard Njiraini.
The new compliance directive means buyers will no longer be duped into buying resin or plastic-based footwear and other products passed on as leather. Kebs also introduced codes of practice for preservation of raw hides and skins including use of salt to dehydrate the raw hide or skin, air drying or suspension methods and use of approved chemicals in pickling. Mr Njiraini said preservation standards will guide handling of harvested raw hides and skins after slaughter to prevent rotting hence enabling enhancing provision of high quality leather to local leather product makers. Leather Apex secretary general Beatrice Mwasi welcomed the development but urged strict enforcement. “Buyers are hoodwinked into spending their hard-earned money. Kenya should affirm only leather sourced from animals should be passed on as leather,” she said.
Local footwear manufacturers have over the years complained over stiff competition posed by imported footwear that are passed on for sale locally as ‘genuine leather only to wear away fast. Leather Apex, which brings together tanneries, footwear and leather product manufacturers together said this opens opportunities for sale of Kenya-made products across the East Africa community markets that have also ratified the standards. Source: businessdailyafrica.com