LAHORE - The industry collected a total of about 8 million hides and skins worth Rs6.54 billion during three days of Eidul Azha against last year’s collection worth approximately Rs8 billion, showing a significant drop in slaughtering of sacrificial animals.
Industry experts said that tanneries have observed around 30 percent decline in hides and skins collection due to lower ratio of slaughtering of sacrificial animals.
Initial estimates made by tanners and hides and skin dealers said that declining trend in sacrificing animals continued for the last many years as around 8 million sheep, goats, cows and camels have been sacrificed by Pakistanis on three days of this Eidul Azha as compared to 7.4 million animals last year.
Increasing prices of animals due to multiple factors including inflation and poor government policies regarding smuggling of animals to Afghanistan have caused decline in slaughtering of animals this Eid again.
They said that falling prices of raw hides and skins in the world as well as local markets have caused a rise of just 20 percent in terms of values of total collection of hides and skins, while the final data is still coming.
Pakistan Tanners Association former chairman Agha Saidain estimated that economic activity of around Rs242 billion is generated on Eid days, including Rs234 billion through animal sales and Rs6.54 billion through purchases of hides and Rs2.6 billion through allied industries.
According to the data, about 8 million animals were slaughtered in the country during the three days of Eid, including 3 million cows, 5 million goats and sheep and almost 100,000 camels.
The average price of the cow hide hovered around Rs2000 against Rs1800 of last year, goat Rs240 per skin versus Rs270 of last year, sheep Rs100 per skin versus Rs130 of last year, and camel Rs800 per hide against Rs1000 of last year.
Agha Saidain stated that during the ‘Qurbani’ season tanners usually purchase bulk quantity of hides and skins each year, worth approximately Rs10-12 billion, but due to economic recession in international leather market i.e. in China, Turkey and other European countries and depreciation in their currencies the demand and export of leather from Pakistan has reduced, adversely affecting the buying of hides in peak season of Qurbani.
He said that tanneries are being supplied very limited gas in Punjab, asking the government to exempt the tanning industry from all kinds of loadshedding at least during the hot and humid climate. This is necessary for processing hides before getting putrefaction which entirely damages the raw hides. The skins, being a perishable item, cannot be stored without processing which requires uninterrupted supply of electricity and gas, he added.
He pointed out that hides are basic raw material for leather industry to make leather garments, bags, footwear, ballets and gloves. All these goods are exported that generate substantial amount of foreign exchange. He said that industry desperately needs the uninterrupted supply of energy to enable the leather manufacturers for smooth processing of these perishable hides and skins within the humid climate of the country, otherwise manufacturers would be in great problems in processing of these items.
Hides market dealers said that there are three major hide markets in the country including Lahore, Multan and Kasur where hide business continued during Eid days. Eidul Azha contributes almost 20 percent to the total industrial need of the country’s leather sector.
They said that trend of slaughtering big animal, cows and calves was on rise due to high prices of goats and sheep. Three decade back, only 15 percent big animals were slaughtered in Lahore on Eidul Azha while 80-85 percent share was of goats and sheep. They said rapid decline in animal count was the major reason of increasing prices along with smuggling of live animals from the country.
They said that Eid generates billions of rupees economic activity in the country. Its major share goes to the rural economy of Pakistan, which includes all activities ranging from selling of sacrificial animals, hides and skins business, fodder consumption and butcher charges and others. Eidul Azha is the only time when this huge business transaction was being made in just no time, they said adding that out of this business 80 percent was done Eid days, 15 percent on second day and about five percent on third day of Eid.