The leather industry of Pakistan has a fair share in the GPD of the country. Leather production accounts for a total of 5.6% of the country’s GDP. A total of 800 tanneries work collectively to produce the local demand as well as export leather products throughout the world. The leather industry can be segmentized into two, formal and informal. Even though informal dominates the formal, Pakistan has three major associations representing the formal leather industry of the country. These include, Pakistan Tanners Association (PTA) which has 159 members, Pakistan Leather Garment Manufacturers and Exporters (PLGMEA) which has 169 members and Pakistan Footwear Manufacturers Association (PFMA) which has 195 members. According to a recent report, there are more than 500,000 individuals employed in the leather industry.
The interesting thing about the leather industry of Pakistan is that it largely lacks a formal structure, there is asymmetry of information and market inefficiencies but it is still able to export leather products after meeting the local demand. This is primarily because the leather goods produced are of superior quality which is unmatched by others. Pakistan exports its leather items to a number of companies such as Italy, China, Germany, Netherlands, Australia, Korea and China. This clearly indicates that leather items of Pakistan are traded all over the world. Some major products include bags, trunks, apparel and footwear.
While leather trade might be rising for Pakistan, veganism has become massively popular over the last few years. It involves refraining from products that are made using animals as it is considered animal cruelty. The narrative has been popular through out the west and is increasingly becoming popular in the oriental region as well. The result is that people are abandoning animal products. In effect, it can damage a major industrial sector of the country. To protect this, Asif Ali Gohar has come up with vegan leather.
Asif Ali Gohar is a Pakistani born German citizen who moved to Germany in 2004, when he was only 12 years old. Ali continued his education in the city of Hamburg for the rest of his life. During his time at school Asif worked on a science project where he discovered veganism and acknowledged the idea for the first. Later on, when he was studying business administration from the University of Hamburg, he came up with the idea of producing vegan leather. What started as a homebased experiment is now a proper scalable business which has a high demand.
Asif is currently looking for a team to expand his operations in Pakistan. This includes both stakeholders as well as proficient workers that are completely aware of the industrial situation of Pakistan’s economy. The main raw material in the process is rice which then coupled with yeast and acetic acid. Pakistan is the fourth largest producer of rice, therefore supply of raw material would not be an issue. If launched successfully, Asif would be able to formalize the leather industry, create new products as well as diversify the leather industry in its essence. Moreover, Pakistan would be able to cater to a greater audience.