The leather industry is a strategically important sector for the industrial, social and economic developments of many African countries. It is high time Africans utilize hides and skins by increasing and adding value. African goat hides, hair, and fur are among the most thriving primary by-products not only within the livestock industry but within the fashion and entertainment industries. This industry is still not exploited when compared to other industries within Africa despite the number of exported hides as raw leather to get a share in the world market. African goat skins produce quality leather products which are fine-grained a good example is the red Sokoto which is generally known for its quality skin. In sub-Saharan Africa, 20% of the world’s goat’s populations are found in this beautiful continent called Africa. Thereby contributing to the global production of goat skins in the world market.
Industrial buyers of goat skins are particularly interested in skins of goats that are not damaged as it will make the production easier, otherwise if they have been damaged from parasites, horns, tattoo or thorns. This will definitely reduce the market quality and value of goat skins. Yes, there are still farmers in Africa who don’t add value to goats sold live and therefore they enjoy the practice of tattooing or branding their goats. Although countries like Burkina Faso is producing high-quality leather products like boots is well known within the sub-region. Leather products have been used for centuries in Africa to make different products, clothes, bags, shoes, purses, vessels beds, and have great importance in the leather industry.
African goat skins have contributed to African economies like Mauritania, Namibia, Kenya, Mali, Botswana, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, The Gambia, Senegal, and Lesotho. Goats generally have a great impact on the social-economic life of rural people as a source of income and protein. Due to the climate change that is a challenge faced by goat farmers, goats still survived and are contributing to the leather industry by providing quality leather by-products.
On the other hand skins of goats in rural areas tend to be of poor quality because of the slaughtering methods used in these areas. Some of these abattoirs are flayed and of poor quality or have been operating for many years without proper maintenance and will produce less quality leather products to supply the leather industry in Africa and majority of these skins can’t be exported to international markets. The shortage of these goat skins which is on high demand by leather giant processors to meet the demand of their industry ranging from fashion to cruise is scaling down their operations.
Leather from African goat skins is used for bags, boots, gloves and other products that don’t require a hard hide. It is traditionally used in Africa for leather bookbinding as well as untanned goat skins are used in different countries as containers for water, wine, and kefir. Today leather is one of the most traded commodities and is predicted to grow in years to come. The African leather sector is increasing potentials to empower their citizens to engage in leather processing and making as there is a high demand in the global market. Africa is emerging as one of the booming markets for quality goat leather and hides for the rising leather industry. The skin of goats has also been used in West Africa countries like The Gambia and Senegal to make drums like the Djembe. The skin of goats is believed to possess some spirit that is used in making drums and it has been manifested that when people hear the beat of a drum they take heed.
Today African goat and skins continue to play a vital role in the socio-economic and African fashion sectors. The figure is increasing compared to sheep wool, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.
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