EghtesadOnline: A total of 124 million square feet of leather were produced in Iran during the last fiscal year (March 2019-20), according to the Ministry of Industries, Mining and Trade’s Planning Department.
Light and heavy livestock leather accounted for some 42 million and 82 million square feet of the total sum respectively.
The latest figures on leather trade released by the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration pertain to the fiscal 2018-19 when some $75 million worth of the product were exported mainly to Iraq, India, Pakistan and Turkey.
Leather imports, on the other hand, stood at $1.7 million over the same period. Iran purchased leather mainly from the UAE, Italy, Turkey and India.
Ninety percent of hides, known as ‘salambor’, produced in Iran are exported, IRIB News reported last year.
According to Chairman of Iran Tanners Association Ali Hassanzadeh, the export of 15 million sheepskins is worth $40 million, while the value grows to $200-210 million by processing the salambor into leather, and further to $700-800 by producing leather products.
The export of salambor comes amid shortage of chemicals needed to process the hide and lack of up-to-date machinery. Many production units are operating under capacity.
According to the report, the production of 1,000 sheepskins creates seven jobs. If this volume is turned into leather, it can create 35-37 jobs and as many as 200 jobs for making leather apparel.
Hassanzadeh said Iran has a share of up to 5% in global sheepskin export while the country has a 1% share in global cowhide exports.
He says Iran has an output of 22 million cowhide, 18 million sheepskins and 7 million goatskins per year.
“Of the 18 million sheepskins, which are turned into salambor and then exported, the country earns $45 million [per year],” he was quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency.
Tehran, Tabriz and Mashhad are the top cowhide production cities of Iran.