Export Trend of the Leather Industry of Bangladesh: Challenges to Sustainable Development
Md. Abdur Rakib

BGMEA University of Fashion and Technology (BUFT)
Email: abdurrakib@buft.edu.bd

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Purpose: The principal objectives of the study are to find out the contribution scenario of the leather sector towards the economic development of Bangladesh and to know the background of the leather industry, export performance, item wise contribution, country-wise export trend and contribution in GDP. Methodology: The present study is a descriptive one and based on mainly secondary information. The data was collected from various journals, research articles, thesis papers, newspapers, online news, survey reports, and annual reports and files. In this study, a descriptive technique was adopted in tabular form, column chart, line chart, pie chart, bar chart to analyze the results and represent collected data and information. Findings: The leather sector of Bangladesh is the second-largest export earners after the ready-made garments sector. This sector contributes enormously to the socio-economic development of Bangladesh. The research findings reveal that the export contribution of leather was 8.14% in FY 1990-91, but after that, the contribution of leather sector is decreasing, one of the main reasons is the export trade had been single-handedly driven by the RMG sector, now its share is almost 2.52% ($1.01billion) of the export earnings. The study shows that the export earnings from leather footwear were 60% growth rate in FY 2018-19 due to riding the trend of increased leather footwear exports in the United States, whereas, the contribution of processed leather and leather products is 24% and 16% respectively. The study also reveals that the leather sector is contributing significantly to the GDP. Leather items are exported from Bangladesh to about 53 countries of the world. The leather sector is also a major employer of semi-skilled or unskilled workers, directly employs around 200,000 people and around 850,000 are connected to the sector indirectly. Limitations: I faced some difficulties for collecting data. Moreover, the study could not deliberate the reflection of statistical tools for analysis of the data. Practical Implications: The export earnings from the leather industry were in good shape before the inception of tannery relocation. But the tanneries are suffering from 2017 as the relocation hit the production of leather processing because some tanneries are not yet in operation. For improving the export performance, the study will be helpful for stakeholders, industry owners, and management, BTA, BFLLGFEA, LFMEAB and buyer’s association. Originality/Value: The study findings clearly showed and explained the comparative position of the export trend among processed leather, leather footwear and leather goods.