In the years of our childhood and adolescence, it was difficult to find shoes made of genuine leather. And the quality of the available shoes was not up to par. In recent years, domestic leather goods have become widespread. If the buyer is satisfied with factors such as price, quality and elegance, why not buy a local product? This time we will talk to those who work directly or indirectly in this area and reflect on the present and future of the industry.
In accordance with the decree of the President of Uzbekistan No. 3693 dated May 3, 2018, the "Uzcharmsanoat" Association was reorganized on the basis of the "Uzbekcharmpoyabzali" Association. It provides practical assistance to industry enterprises in solving various issues and problems in the production and export process. The Association is also a leading organization in defining the prospects for the leather industry and implementing plans and goals in this direction.
The total cost of products manufactured in the industry in 2020 amounted to 3.6 trillion soums, an increase of 1.4 times compared to 2019. The share of leather goods in the country's GDP was 0.7%, in the republic's industry - 1.1%. Exports of leather goods in 2020 amounted to $401 million, an increase of 2.1 times compared to 2019. Currently, 39 thousand jobs have been created in the industry.
Fakhriddin Boboev, Chairman of the "Uzcharmsanoat" Association, and others spoke about the activities of the organization.
“Today, our President has set specific tasks and instructions for the development of the leather and footwear industry, so that it becomes one of the leading industries not only in Uzbekistan, but also in Central Asia, and, if necessary, in the world. One of the main tasks is deep processing of leather raw materials, fur, wool, astrakhan fur, creating a value chain and producing competitive finished products with high added value, export-oriented, for the domestic and foreign markets. The second direction is an increase in the range of import-substituting raw materials and products and an increase in export potential in this direction. To fulfill the above tasks, together with the Ministry of Investments and Foreign Trade, we have developed a "Program for the Development and Implementation of Economic Reforms in the Leather and Footwear Industry for 2022-2026". The program determines the directions of reforming the industry in 2022-2026, provides for an increase in the range of products. It also covers the issues of expanding industrial cooperation, investment, export and digitalization of the industry,” said Fakhriddin Boboev, the Chairman of the Uzcharmsanoat Association.
In addition to the above, Deputy Chairman of the Association Adhamjon Muidinov said: “We have many goals. In particular, wider access to foreign markets, especially to Europe, and full use of the GSP + system of preferences, to which Uzbekistan joined this year. Also, reducing the cost of manufactured products, creating equal and competitive conditions for all manufacturers in product markets, creating national brands of local enterprises and supporting these national brands in foreign markets. We set ourselves the task of improving the local training system, increasing qualification of top and middle managers, further improve the training system.”
During the meeting with the officials of the "Uzcharmsanoat" Association, we also had a short conversation with Mitesh Verma, an Indian investor, founder of the "Leather Apparels" JV in Chirchik.
“In 2018, we met with Deputy Prime Minister Behzod Musaev and the head of the Association Sardor Umurzakov at the embassy when the delegation headed by them visited India. They told me about the benefits of doing business in Uzbekistan. According to them, benefits, government support and the creation of new jobs seemed very attractive to me. Since then, I have been to Uzbekistan several times and am convinced that the potential of this market is enormous. After all, if you do not talk about raw leather, there are not many enterprises that produce finished leather goods. Imagine selling raw leather for $2–2.5. This is a waste of natural resources. I explained this to Sardor Uktamovich, and he and the current chairman, Mr. Boboev, helped me a lot. They found me a local partner in Chirchik. I plan to make leather clothes. There are no such enterprises in Uzbekistan. We are planning to open 5 businesses with the support of local partners. For example, one piece of clothing sells for $ 70–75, which means 5–5.5 leathers. If you sell it in leather, you only get $10-12. Can you imagine how many people will be employed? In the chain of leather processing, it goes through 7 stages.
We will not be able to implement our projects without government support. We want to create 500 jobs by the end of 2022,” he said.
After talking with the representatives of the Association, there was a desire to go to the leather and shoe enterprises in the regions.
LLC “Ravon Taraqiyot Orzusi”, which was recognized as “The Best Exporter” during the August open dialogue of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev with entrepreneurs, was at the center of lenses and our cameras. We decided to go to Andijan with our creative team and get acquainted with the activities of the enterprise. The head of the enterprise Abdukhoshim Ismoilov told us about this enterprise.
“We started our business in 2007 with 7 employees. Our company currently employs about 1,500 people. Initially, we only produced rubber overshoes, but today the number of our product range has exceeded 100. Despite the pandemic last year, our exports exceeded $6 million, and the export geography expanded, and now we sell products to more than 30 countries. Three years ago, on the recommendation of the President, we launched a line for the processing of sheep wool and the production of fabrics from it. We used to import this raw material, but now we use it not only for our own needs, but also export it. This year we plan to create 200-300 additional jobs by launching the production of national footwear, both Makhsi and Latin,” - said Abdukhoshim Ismailov.
We also visited "Angren Charm Invest" in Angren, "Vodiy Shoes" in Logon village of Fergana region and "Akbar Biznes Stroy" in Gulistan to get acquainted with the production process.
In the process of getting to know this industry, it was not possible to fit all the works that we filmed in the camera lens into one program. We hope that in the coming years this industry will become one of the leading industries in our country.
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