LAHORE, Pakistan: Around 25 percent hides of sacrificial animals are damaged each year on Eid-ul-Azha due to lack of awareness, hot weather and energy shortage, the Pakistan Tanners Association (PTA) Regional Chairman Azam Malik said on Friday.
Talking to the state-run news agency, the PTA Regional Chairman said that damage of around 25 percent hides of sacrificial animals every Eid-ul-Azha causes an estimated loss of about Rs 1.5 billion to both tanneries and hide dealers.
The PTA Regional Chairman said that apart from direct loss of around Rs 1.5 billion due to animals’ skin damage, the country might suffer additional loss of over US $ 400 million foreign exchange if an extensive and widespread awareness drive was not launched for preservation of hides and skins.
However, Azam Malik appreciated Punjab Livestock Department for timely arranging meeting with PTA and other stakeholders and dispatching post cards bearing messages for preserving hides and skins on Eid to 25,000 Imam of Masajid 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. He was of the view that it would benefit the farmers, stakeholders and to leather sector, the second largest exporting sector of Pakistan.
The PTA Regional Chairman observed that Pakistan was one of the biggest markets of the raw hides and skins in Asia and about 30-40 percent of the total produce was generated only on the occasion of Eid. He said that Eid-ul-Azha had great importance for rural economy, as tanning industry purchased about 30-40 percent of its raw material during Eid.
For the last many years, he mentioned, tanneries had been facing gas and electricity shortage, which were necessary for processing hides before getting putrefaction, and this problem damaged the raw hides. The skins, being a perishable item, could not be stored without processing and required uninterrupted supply of electricity and gas, he maintained.
Azam Malik pointed out that hides were basic raw material for leather industry to make leather garments, bags, footwear, ballets and gloves, asserting that all these goods were exported that generated substantial amount of foreign exchange.
The Regional Chairman was of the view that hides were generally damaged due to hiring of unprofessional butchers, while a big percentage of the hides were wasted because of lacking appropriate knowledge of their preservation.
The PTA Regional Chairman suggested 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.
Azam Malik recalled that last year, PTA also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with University of Veterinary & Animal Sciences (UVAS) and European Union’s Pakistan Leather Competitive Improvement Programme for Hides and Skins Preservation.
The PTA Regional Chairman explained 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.