Leather, footwear expo concludes on high note
The seven-day fair was organized by the Leather Footwear and Goods Manufacturers Association of Nepal (LFGMAN) with the aim of branding domestic leather products and informing the public about the latest products from local manufacturers.
This year’s event also included suitings and shirtings. The fair contained 130 stalls showcasing leather products, shoes and slippers, and 50 stalls displaying suitings and shirtings.
“Footfall reached 95,000 which is 15-20 percent greater than last year. The turnover was also encouraging with 20,000 pairs of shoes sold during the seven days of the fair,” said Homnath Upadhyay, president of the LFGMAN. “Two holidays in a week also contributed to the increased footfall this year.”
Upadhyay added that Nepali shoe manufacturers had been expanding their design range in a bid to compete with imported products. Although domestic shoes have secured a 65 percent market share in the country, they have not been able to penetrate the high-end market, he said.
Meanwhile, manufacturers said that labour shortages, competition from Chinese footwear and load-shedding have been hampering the growth of the industry. According to Nepal Rastra Bank, industrial growth of footwear increased 2.5 percent in the last fiscal year.
“Demand for footwear is increasing 10-15 percent annually, but manufacturers have not been able to keep pace,” said Upadhyay. He added that the government should come up with plans to promote the industry. “Self-employment training should be provided to solve the problem of labour shortage,” he added. According to the association, Nepal requires 50 million pairs of shoes annually.
“An inadequate workforce and power cuts are the two main reasons why the industry is suffering,” said Pramod Kumar Mahato, managing director of Samrat Shoes. He added that the industry was having a hard time because of cheaper Chinese shoes being relabelled and sold as Nepali products.
According to the association, the domestic footwear and leather industry consists of 750 manufacturers and provides 300,000 jobs. “Nepali footwear products have high demand in the Indian market too. If we enhance the quality, we can export our products to several countries,” said Rajan Shrestha, head of sales and marketing at Kiran Shoes, the manufacturer of Gold Star shoes.