Arrival of footwear manufacturing units in the infrastructure-rich towns like Noida and Chandigarh as well as slowdown in export orders due to unavailability of credit facilities to the major footwear importers, are the new challenges for Agra footwear industry. This makes footwear units in the town to run at less than 50 percent of their production capacity.
Agra footwear industry is already facing a 30 percent decline in export orders due to financial meltdown. First quarter of 2009 has experienced a sharp decline in export orders. Though only a few number of footwear units have come up in Noida and Chandigarh, the business of small exporters of Agra is getting affected. So, there is a need to develop a supporting infrastructure for Agra footwear industry.
Big exporters of the town are looking for a substantial share in the economic package announced by the Centre for the leather industry, totaling to Rs. 1,300 crore. According to the experts, though Kanpur is known for utility footwear exports and Chennai has the largest share in men's footwear, the top position in exports of men's & women's fashion footwear rests with Agra.
Growth rate of Agra footwear industry was 27 percent for the past few years but this drop down in business would make it difficult to maintain that growth rate this year. According to experts, situation will change in the near future, as China faces import restrictions from several countries and cost of footwear manufacturing in the Eastern European Countries is going high.
Experts hope that in coming years, bulk buyers will turn to India and country's share in the world footwear trade will rise, at least to 7 percent from 4 percent.
Fibre2fashion News Desk - India