SITA is for Africa-India business
S Vishnu Sharmaa, INN/Chennai, @svs037
A prominent presence in the 34th India International Leather Fair was the presence of Supporting Indian Trade and Investment for Africa (SITA), an organisation that aims to promote business between African countries and India.
In the stall of SITA, about four countries from eastern part of Africa namely Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia were there to sell their products.
Sushil Dubey, international market expert consultant (leather) with Supporting Indian Trade and Investment for Africa (SITA) said the four countries have abundance of leather raw material namely wet blue leather, crust leather which have a good requirement in India.
There are nine companies taking part in the fair currently. This is a good sign for them compared to last year where there were seven companies from these four countries.
African countries are rich in leather raw materials, India has the market for them and also has a fine technology which can convert the raw material into finished products, he said. Bringing these nations in proximity to India can have couple of advantages.
For India it will give an access to high quality raw material, for the African nations it will provide a hold on technology that can make finished products using which they can refine the manufacturing on their land.
Added to this, Indian leather companies can also get to know about investment prospects in the leather segment of these African nations. We trained them on using upgraded technology for bringing out leather material under a programme sponsored by International Trade Centre of United Nations Organisation (UNO) in association with UKaid, a unit of Department for International Development.
We also told them about how best the international markets could be accessed. After a series of such extensive programmes, these African companies have gained expertise. The programme began in 2015 and will go on till 2020. We have even organised visits for Indian companies to these nations from eastern Africa. About four delegations were taken over to Africa in the last three years.
The good thing is the business between these countries and India are witnessing a growth of 15 percent, year-over-year, we expect to see the same this year also. However, one cannot forget challenges present currently, though the future appears to be bright. Pollution in the leather industry in India and competition from synthetic products that come from other countries like China are posing challenges. The apt way would be to use zero liquid discharge systems in the leather industry in India so as to bring down the pollution levels, he said.