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August 05, 2008

Poor quality hurts Tanzanian hides market

by Zephania Ubwani

Improper slaughter practice, wrong branding and tearing of skin as result of whipping has led to low quality of hides and skin in Ranzania. Poor feeding of animals and methods of drying of the products are other factors.

Mr Constatine Makale, head of hides and skin marketing in the northern zone, said this was a major drawback for local producers. "Most of them (livestock owners) brand their animals on very sensitive and crucial parts of the skin. When animals are slaughtered their hides end up being badly marked, causing a drop in value," he said during a recent stakeholders meeting.

Price of hides and skin has dropped to between Sh500 (US 40 cents) and Sh600 from Sh1,000.

According to Mr Makale, until recently up to 80 per cent of all raw hides, but since 2007 only 20 per cent, are exported in raw form.

During 2006-2007, the northern zone regions produced about two million cattle hides, 1.5 million goats' skin and one million sheep skin - figures which Makale said were low given large herds of livestock found in the four regions, with the potential of producing 2.8 million cattle and 4.8 million goats and sheep skin hides.

In 2004/2005, Tanzania exported 1.5 million hides, 0.8 million goat skin and 0.5 million sheep skin worth about $ 7.5 million, ministry of livestock development officials said. They said the processing of hides and skins has stagnated over the years as most tanneries operated at less than 30 per cent capacity owing to unfair competition from raw exporters and lack of incentives for the tanning sector.

Tanzania, with about 19 million cattle, 13 goats and 3.6 sheep, ranks third after Sudan and Ethiopia for having the highest population of livestock in the African continent

The Daily News

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