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July 20, 2024

The History of Hide and Skin Trade in Nigeria

By: Abdulmalik Adetola Lawal

The hide and skin trade in Nigeria is deeply rooted in the country’s rich history, intertwining with cultural practices, economic pursuits, and global commerce. This trade, which involves the processing and exportation of animal hides and skins, has played a significant role in shaping Nigeria’s economic landscape and cultural identity.

Historically, the use of hides and skins in Nigeria dates back centuries, with indigenous communities relying on these materials for various purposes. The hides and skins of animals such as cattle, goats, and sheep served as essential resources for clothing, footwear, and shelter. The traditional tanning methods employed by local artisans showcased the ingenuity of Nigerian craftsmanship, with techniques passed down through generations.

As trade networks expanded, so did the demand for Nigerian hides and skins. The arrival of European colonial powers heightened this demand, as the hides and skins became sought-after commodities in the global market. Colonial-era records indicate that the British, in particular, recognized the economic potential of Nigeria’s hides and skins, leading to the establishment of trade routes and processing centers.

Post-independence, Nigeria’s hide and skin trade underwent both challenges and transformations. Economic policies, global market dynamics, and fluctuations in demand influenced the trajectory of this industry. The Nigerian government’s efforts to diversify the economy and boost non-oil exports further underscored the importance of the hide and skin trade.

Despite its economic significance, the hide and skin trade in Nigeria faced issues related to quality control, infrastructure, and adherence to international standards. In response to these challenges, government interventions and collaborations with international organizations sought to enhance the quality of hides and skins produced in Nigeria, ensuring compliance with global market requirements.

The modern hide and skin trade in Nigeria reflects a blend of tradition and innovation. Technological advancements in processing, preservation, and transportation have streamlined the industry, allowing Nigerian exporters to meet international standards efficiently. Additionally, the establishment of regulatory bodies has played a pivotal role in overseeing the trade, ensuring ethical practices and environmental sustainability.

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