NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 14 – Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) has adopted nine new footwear, hides and skins standards allowing Kenyan footwear and leather products to access the regional markets.
“The new standards will level trade in footwear and leather products produced within member states in the East African community by use of comparable standards. Additionally, they will ensure the quality, fitness for use and safety of the footwear products to the users,” says Bernard Njiraini, Managing Director, Kenya Bureau of Standards.
The footwear standards that cover the most utilised footwear category of open and closed shoes for men, women and children from two to six years of age, outline crucial requirements such as bonding strength, which has been an issue with children’s school shoes, upper and bottom material requirements for upper leather and shoe soles.
The standards have defined limits of heavy metals especially for shoes of young children and infants to protect them from exposure to harmful chemicals while ensuring functionality.
The standards body also approved codes of practice for preservation of raw hides and skins. Some of the preservation methods outlined in the specifications include use of salt to dehydrate the rawhide or skin, air drying or suspension methods and the use of approved chemicals in pickling.
“Preservation standards will guide safeguarding of raw hides and skins immediately after flaying/slaughter to prevent the growth of microbiological organisms or rotting. This will in turn increase the production of leather in the country, both for local use and export,” he adds.
It is expected that the standards will be a great boost to local businesses as well as the government’s big 4 agenda of increasing manufacturing of local products and spurring economic growth.