The Indonesian Tanners Association is seeking suppliers to source raw and pickled goat leather and sheep skin from nine countries to compensate for a lack of leather supply in the country.
The association's secretary general Agit Punto Yuwono said Friday the grouping was now eyeing at least nine new source countries.
"Our slaughter houses have a total production capacity of 20 million sheets of goat and sheep skin, but the country only supplies 5 million sheets.
"We're short 75 percent," he said at the Industry Ministry.
"We're currently negotiating with the animal husbandry directorate general (of the agriculture ministry) to look for more supplies of raw and pickled goat and sheep skin from nine countries and expect the result by the end of this year."
The nine countries are Saudi Arabia, the United Emirates, Yaman, Iran, Kuwait, Turki, Somalia, Kenya and Nigeria, Agit said.
He said the ministry was studying documents on slaughter houses, tanner houses, veterinary regulations and supply chains in the nine countries.
"Imagine, how many leather sheets we could obtain just on the Islamic Day of Sacrifice from the Middle Eastern countries," he said, referring to an Islamic ritual where an able Muslim is obliged to sacrifice a sheep or a cow.
"Moreover, It is now possible for local tanners to import raw and pickled leather as it is less at risk from infectious diseases, based on recent studies by the Agriculture Ministry."
Raw and pickled leather imports are exempt from value added tax (VAT) under a 2007 regulation, he said.
A shortage of cow and buffalo leather supply has also damaged the country's leather industry, he said.
He said the country was able to slaughter only 2 million cows and buffaloes, while leather producers needed 5 million sheets of cow and buffalo skins.
"We need to import 3 million sheets of cow and buffalo to meet local demand," he said.
He said the association was also planning to import raw and pickled cow and buffalo leathers from countries in Latin America, including Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay.
"We also hope to be able to import raw cow and buffalo leather from Southeast Asian countries, like Myanmar and the Philippines, after we manage to source such leather from Malaysia," said Agit.
Senjaya, association chairman, said the country's leather production had been sluggish due to a lack of leather supply and a decrease in the number of slaughtered animals.
The association's main markets are footwear and garment manufacturers.