KOHAT: The prices of hides have plunged by 80 to 90 per cent due to very slow response by the tanneries, thus causing heavy losses to the people associated with the business.
The businessmen have not yet transported the hides to tanneries in Kasur in the hope that the prices may rise to some extent and have dumped them in their warehouses after salting.
The seminaries and welfare organisations, which collected hides once a year to sell them to pay salaries and run the madressahs, have also been affected by the decline in hides prices.
The caretaker of a seminary said earlier when the business was at its peak they sold donated hides for more than Rs1 million but now the same number of hides raised only Rs20,000.
One Gulzar, who deals with hides in the chicken market, told Dawn that the buffalo hide which was priced at Rs4,000 to Rs5,000 in 2010 came down slowly to Rs2,500 in 2015, but during the last two years it hit the lowest price of Rs500 per piece, thus completely ruining his business.
Similarly, the prices of goats and lambs hides also showed downward trend and were being sold for Rs40 and Rs20. Earlier, their prices were Rs400 and Rs250, respectively.
Gulzar said the government had done nothing to save their business. He said that earlier the damaged hide could also fetch half the rate but now it was disposed of because tanneries did not buy them.
Their profit margin has come down to Rs10 from Rs50 per hide, he maintained.
Gulzar said they had been told by the tannery owners that since the cheap artificial leather from China had occupied the market which was much cheaper than the original product, they were not much interested in purchasing hides.
Similarly, he said the hides of donkeys were purchased by the tanneries as China was importing them from all over the world because it was cheaper and produced good leather.
Shaida Khan, a businessman, said instead of doing hides business he had established his own factory to produce a range of exportable leather products and was earning huge profits. He said that only raw hide business had suffered and the manufactured products still had good international and local response.
Published in Dawn, August 28th, 2018