The Sri Lankan footwear industry can reach higher, similar to the apparel industry with more recognition for young industrialists.
The footwear industry in Sri Lanka has greater potential as Sri Lanka is intense with labour, especially trainable labour.
Sri Lanka has been considered a place for healthy labour relations and high efficient labour which can be utilized in the footwear industry, Leather Footwear Advisory Council Chairman Ranjith Hettiarachchy told Daily News Business.
Sri Lanka can outsource components and material essential for footwear industry. Therefore, we expect to build new contacts and linkages between Indian leather and footwear manufacturers with Sri Lankan manufacturers, he said.
Sri Lanka s footwear exports was US$ 17 million whereas leather and leather products exports was US$ 13 million last year.
Sri Lanka has a potential to develop the footwear industry and India will be a better partner in helping Sri Lanka to promote footwear industry.
He said Sri Lanka is in need of the latest technology and machinery to promote the footwear industry and India and Sri Lanka can be a footwear hub in Asia as Sri Lanka specialises on apparel.
At present, there is a demand for crepe rubber which can be used for the leather industry as raw material.
Hettiarachchy said the Leather Footwear Advisory Council establishes a footwear cluster to develop the cottage industry with technology to cater to the local market following an Indian model.
This can improve their quality to reach the higher levels to the international market.
The Government s policy on imported shoes has lead to the survival of local footwear industry.
The Sri Lankan footwear industry is at its infancy and there is a lot of scope to grow as the country has plenty of manpower which can be developed and trained for the future of footwear industry, Indian Footwear Components Manufacturer s Association President B.D. Bhaiya told Daily News Business.
India being the second largest manufacturer of footwear in the world, can give the fullest support to Sri Lanka with technology and necessary machinery.
Components are the backbone of the footwear industry.
Until good components are produced or imported the footwear industry cannot grow.
Since Sri Lanka can deploy human resources, the footwear industry in Sri Lanka can cater to the international brands in future, he said.