To increase leather quality: The University of Gondar trains Kola Duba’s blue-collar workers

On Saturday 17 June 2017, in Kola Duba, the University of Gondar trained the areas Butchers in the art of skinning and preserving animal leather. The days training focused on gaining insight into maximizing the communities profits when it comes to selling the skin which later becomes leather.

Amongst those who attended Professor Mersha Chanie, Research and Community Service Vice President, was present. Advocating the work that was being done, Prof Mersha assured those in attendance that the training would make a sizable difference in their lives.

In Ethiopia one of the more worthwhile exports is animal skin. It accounts for the countries top three exports. Though thousands upon thousands of pounds of goat and sheep skin are shipped daily to be turned into our shoes, belts and purses in the globalized world the quality of the product can still be a degrading factor. The way the Ethiopian population skins and thereafter store the animal skin can play a decisive role in the way it is sold.

Butchers from a town called Kola Duba, which is about 45 kilometers from Gondar, spoke of their frustration of the lack of incentive to sell the animal skin. They brought up numerous times the decreasing price of the skin that is sold to local wholesale buyers. “A skin that was sold for 40 to 50 birr a couple of years ago” one said, “is now selling for only 4 or 5.”

From the presentation the audience grasped upon some enlightening techniques in the art of preserving their animal skin. Some of the techniques that were illustrated were instrumental to many of the butcher’s problems. Once the animal is skinned it is vital to wash the skin with salt thoroughly. Secondly, and no less important, once washed and sterilized it must be given space to dry without any constraints and folding. If these two procedures are followed the quality of the skin will be protected according to the presenters.

Those who organized the training guaranteed the towns people who were in attendance that if the proper measures are taken future increases in price will come. One of those who presented a power point presentation was Tilahun Yohannes. He started with the position that Ethiopia is number one in Africa when it comes to the number of cattle and animal skin output. But, he tried to eliminate any doubt that it would decrease. The benefits we gain from our animals is from their “meat, milk and tilling strength” he said. He cleared any pessimism by reflecting on the fact that if used properly and correctly the animal skins “can profit the country and the people.”

Currently the country is exceeding expectations. In recent memory the country of Ethiopia would only export its resources. But now, it can be observed that the finished products that were once imported from other countries are now being manufactured here in Ethiopia. Once this strategy of manufacturing is perfected all stakeholders will be advantageous.

By Samuel Malede| Public and International Relations Directorate