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Sri Lanka footwear industry can be developed

Apr 12, 2013 Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka footwear industry can be developed
With the ultimate goal of reducing leather and footwear imports in Sri Lanka, the president of IDB – Industrial Development Board of Sri Lanka – has announced measures to develop the sector.

In statement to the press, the president of IDB - Kariyawasam - say that the government has identified the leather and footwear as a thrust industry. So it is very important promote leather product among population, and, increase substantially the production for national market.

Besides, IDB studied other fields where investments are needed to compete with the global market. "At present the industry produces 75 percent of all shoes sold in the island. About 95 percent of the local shoes are made from non-leather (synthetic) materials or rubber. The remaining 25 percent of shoes sold in Sri Lanka are imported. This amounts to circa 10 million pairs per year. These are also made from non-leather (synthetic) materials. It is reasonable to assume the local companies will continue to try to seize some of that market, which offers low priced footwear at very competitive rates. These shoes are made from synthetic materials (non-leather) and therefore they offer no benefit for the prosperity of the leather manufacturing industry," said the president of IDB.

The president also enumerated five key problems in the industry, which limit its ability to compete: poor and insufficient leather, poor supply base for most material and components which are unsuitable for exported products, inadequate provision of training for operator and technical skills, no marketing strategy or brand identity for the industry and poor mechanization and practices in production. The lack of skilled labor is another problem in the leather industry.

 Therefore the IDB in association with The Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission has already introduced a program for workers.According to president, the opening of export markets can be a impulsion for economic growth: "If the industry can open the export markets for leather footwear, it will target the overarching objective of this project which is to increase export earnings and therefore will be more beneficial to the expansion of the industry, its employment levels and the country’s trade balance”.The IDB Director - A. G. Karunadasa - said that leather products are environment-friendly and healthy. The IDB is in negotiations with University of Moratuwa and Colombo University Faculty of Fine Arts to develop modern technology and modern designs.

Related Organizations

  • Sri Lanka Footwear Association

    Sri Lanka Footwear Association

    Sri Lanka