|GATE - 4/92 - Networking: Lessons and Hopes (GTZ GATE, 1992, 56 p.)|
Improving the Quality of Leather for Processing
GATE's Question-and-Answer Service offers individuals, groups and institutions technical information and advice free of charge. In this column we publish questions and answers that may be of interest to readers of gate magazine.
Since the majority of our population are pomades, owning sheep, cattle and camels, there are large number of their products. Hides are exported to some Arab countries, which treat process and re-export them to Europe. The slaughtery houses of our cities and the pomades have no system to improve their product. When the animal is killed, hides and skin usually are removed and dried under the sun for about three days. Therefore the hides and skins are sold either at a very low price. Some have no value at all. In this regard we require a cheap, appropriate and small technology to improve the quality of hide and skins in order to get leather at an exportable standard.
Golis Voluntary Organization, Somaliland
Project experience in other countries has shown that the poor quality of leather for processing can be due to damage during skinning; for example, by improper use of the fleshing knife. Furthermore, quality is also impaired by incorrect drying and storage methods: it is most important that the hides are properly stretched during drying and that they are dried in the shade.
Another reason for this trend towards poor quality is, in our opinion, the "procurement policy" of the hide buyers. It has become common practice to buy hides en bloc, much to the detriment of quality control and with the result that the farmers/ slaughterers (sellers) no longer differentiate (or have to differentiate) between various hide qualities.
This problem can only be solved by raising the procurement prices for top quality hides as this would give the sellers an incentive to provide a better quality of hide. It is not so much the use of technology (hardware) that can improve the quality of leather as the carefully implemented skinning process itself. Good tools (fleshing knives) are imperative for skinning as is supervision by experts.
Together with Djibouti, the GTZ has constructed an exemplary drying and storage facility which is adjacent to the slaughterhouse. Thus, the construction method, the equipment and the techniques could be adopted in this case as the climatic conditions are the same. In addition, an exchange of technicians could be planned for training purposes as local personnel was trained in Djibouti. We would therefore like to suggest that you contact the following institution: Ministere de l'Agriculture de l'Elevage et des Peches. Direction Djibouti. Djibouti. For further information we will send two publications which provide you with a well-founded introduction to this subject. TOOL: Environmentally Sound Leather Tanning. A Course on Small-scale Techniques and Management. ILO: Tanning of Hides and Skins.