Development of criteria for assessing the quality of skins and hides for indigenous leather production in the Kumasi Metropolis

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There appears to be problems associated with the quality of skins and hides purchased for indigenous leather production. This is due to the fact that, majority of Ghanaian consumers prefers purchasing foreign made leather products rather than the locally manufactured ones. This existing situation brings about the notion that, the locally processed skins and hides are not properly assessed before they are tanned into leather. It is not known whether local tanners have criteria for assessing the quality of skins and hides. The methodology/procedure for assessment has not been evaluated. The research utilized the qualitative research design as the main method of gathering data where descriptive method of research and a case study were employed. Both structured and unstructured interviews and participant observation were tools employed for data collection. It was observed that quality assurance and control factors that should be applied are not mostly well noticed and have less impact on the standard of skins and hides purchased and used for indigenous leather. Well assessed skins and hides had no defaults on them. When assessment was overlooked, tanned leathers showed symptoms of defect such as unnecessary holes, scratches, breakages/cracks, termite attack on grain and flesh side, fading of colour, weakness in poor strength and poor durability. There was therefore the need to use suggested criteria to educate them, prevent and eradicate bad quality skins and hides used for indigenous leather. These defaults can be limited or prevented if tanners work together and adopt standardized criteria for thorough assessment of the quality of skins and hides for leather. Quality assurance and control factors if used frequently by the tanners and adopted will improve upon the quality of skins and hides assessed for leather. Finally, health and educative programmes, seminars and workshops are recommended to be organized frequently to educate the public concerning the quality of skins and hides for leather.
A Thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Art Education, 2011