Leather industry in India is quite large. This country has near about one-fourth of the world`s buffaloes and cattle as well as a large number of goats and sheep. Thus, skins required for the manufacture of leather goods are available in plenty in India. However, a sizeable portion of finishing and tanning materials, dyes, chemicals, machinery are still imported. Moreover, finishing materials like dyes are manufactured in the country. Huge quantity of wattle extract that is a tanning material is imported. However, efforts have been made to grow wattle in the country. Bark of babul and several other trees in India are used as tanning material.
In India, leather industry is spread on quite a huge scale. There are modern large scale tanneries as well as small scale village tanneries. Modern large scale tanneries produce vegetable as well as chrome-tanned leather. However, they are situated in big towns only. Village tanneries produce only vegetable tanned leather and they are spread across the country. Buffalo leather is mainly used for soles of shoes. Moreover, it is also used to make harness, saddles and belts. Kanpur and Agra produces a major portion of the total output of sole leather in India. Skins of sheep and goats are tanned principally for export.
Modern chrome tanneries are situated only in big cities particularly in Agra, Mumbai
, Kolkata, and Kanpur
among others. Indigenous tanneries are spread throughout the country. Big tanning process is used by them. The leather so produced is easy to work and soft. Western style leather shoes are manufactured in several factories situated in cities like Mumbai, Kanpur, Agra
. Kolkata is one of the leading centres of manufacturing leather products. India produces a huge ratio of chrome-tanned hides. In addition to finished leather, hides, skins, this country also exports footwear components, leather wallets, garments, handbags and other variety of leather goods.
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