Rwanda Leather Industry, a hides and skin processing company, is set to start exporting crust and finished leather by August.
The development which was announced by the management of the company, comes after new machines were imported to process the leather from wet blue to crust and to finished products.
Gitau Wamukui, the company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), said that the machine imported from Italy through a Dutch agent will have capacity to produce 10,000 pieces of hides and 25,000 of animal skins monthly.
Most of the machines were in the country in December last year. Their operational capacity has been tested.
“A machine that will help in the production high quality leather, has delayed to be delivered,” Wamukui said.
“Another important machine machine was hard to acquire and it was shipped in April; it’s now in the country ready to be installed,” he added.
Rwandan wet blue is exported to India, China, Hong Kong, Kenya, Italy, with Pakistan as the new entrant and Italy the best buyer is helping the leather industry penetrate the European markets.
Niyamathulla Jalal, a quality control and production expert, has been hired from India to train staff. “Rwanda leather industry is a fast growing industry and has a bright future. I am confident that it will have penetrated the European market,” Niyamathulla said.
Niyamathulla, who has been in the leather industry in India for over 30 years, says Rwandan skins and hides are superior and can compete on international market.
Wamukui said that the whole upgrading programme has cost the industry over $1.2 million.