By the year 2015 Tanzania had the third largest livestock population on the African continent comprising 30.7 million cattle, 98% of which were indigenous breeds, complemented by 19.1 million goats, 5.6 million sheep, and 580,238 donkeys.
Tanzania`s tanneries industry has a total annual capacity to process 3.6 million hides and 12.8 million skins. The total installed capacity in the country is equivalent to 104 million square feet per year, with actual capacity utilization at around 86 % for hides and 61 % for skins of total annual processing capacity. The Tanzanian tanning industry produces mainly wet-blue leather. Crust and finished leather account for a smaller share of production. There are no tanneries producing high-fashion finished leather. The sector is estimated to employ about 1,000 people directly. It is estimated that only five small firms produce leather footwear in the country and less than 200 workers are employed in the leather footwear sector.
Domestic and international markets for leather and leather products are growing. Stable demand for leather from large importing markets (United States, China, etc.) has been a key driver for the expansion of the sector in the country.
The expanding middle class in emerging countries (Brazil, the Russian Federation, India, China, and South Africa) adds to this demand for Tanzanian leather products which in turn will prompt further expansion of the leather industry.
Opportunities available include producing female and male belts, handbags, and bags, Manufacturing leather furniture, shoes, saddles, car seat covers, and other leather products