Developing countries around the world are beginning to realise they have long overlooked a valuable resource, although it has been part of their landscape for centuries.
Developing countries around the world are beginning to realise they have long overlooked a valuable resource, although it has been part of their landscape for centuries. One third world nation to realise the potential of the leather industry is the Central African Republic of Chad.
SYNOPSIS: The making of leather is one of man's oldest skills. It has been developed by European tanners into a highly technical and profitable business using skins from all parts of the world-including hides from small Third World herds like these. Traditionally, these skins were sold cheaply to Western tanners for processing into essential utility articles and luxury goods. But changes in the world economy are leading to new centres of leather production and potential wealth for the Third World.
Here in Chad, the basic treatment of skins is little changed from primitive methods used for centuries. Chad has a subsistence economy based on cotton each-crops, stock-breeding and fishing-together employing more than three-quarters of its four million population. Yet these by-products of meat production have gone largely ignored. especially as Chad skins have a low value on the international market. Instead, collectors from Cameroun and Nigeria have been happy to use them in their own well-recognised leather industries.
Many of these pickled skins will return to Chad in the form of shoes and essential items, as costly imports. Yet if Chad emulates other developing countries, it could find both employment and wealth in making finished leather for export and use in home production of leather goods.