President Ruto has said that the government is set to put up a leather manufacturing company in Naivasha noting that this will help promote local livestock farming and ensure value addition for their animal products.
Ruto made this statement during a goat auction event at Kimalel in Baringo County on Thursday where he noted that the country will ban leather imports in the next three years to solely depend on the local skin manufacturing industry. He continued to add that that 5,000 acres of land had already been identified and set aside in Naivasha. Noting all this, he implored that all Kenyans to adopt the made-in-Kenya products, further disclosing that his administration might be forced to increase taxes on imports to compel citizens to purchase local items.
“We are going to promote our own manufactured products. So far, we have finished negotiations to set aside 5,000 acres where we are going to put up large leather industries… after three years, we will not import any shoes from other countries. If somebody cannot buy a shoe made with the skin of a Kenyan cow, they can walk barefoot… no problem. Or we can increase tax so that we collect more revenues,” he stated.
Ruto additionally raised concerns that the skin price in Kenya has been depreciating as a result of heavy importation from other countries.
“We have to start using our goats to, manufacture leather products. We are still importing over 10 million pairs of shoes yearly while our livestock skins continue to lose value… huku ata haina bei… how can the same skin that is used to manufacture shoes which we buy from Ksh. 5,000, Ksh. 10,000 and Ksh. 20,000 fail to have any monetary value? Does it mean our leather cannot make shoes, handbags or even belts?” Ruto stated.
He also mentioned his intended cooperation with India to see that Kenya has the better breeds.
“I have spoken with the Prime Minister of India and have agreed to work together to promote livestock farming. Our PS is in India to discuss how we are going to get better breeds for our cattle… we don’t want you to sell your cattle like this, we want value addition for your animals so that after slaughtering, we sell the meat separately, bones and skins separately,” Ruto said.