The market for high value crocodile leather, known in the trade as “classic” skins, encompasses alligator, Nile and porosus (saltwater crocodile) skins. Other species in lesser demand (non-classics) include siamensis, novaguinea and caiman skins. Although these are also produced commercially they do not attract the same status and pricing of the true “classic” species.
Alligator skin production dominates world trade in terms of volume but mainly services the watchband skin market, with only limited numbers of large skins being produced that are suitable for handbags and leather apparel. The production of alligator skins is of the order of 350,000 skins annually. Nile skins constitute the second largest production by volume with around 200,000 skins being produced annually.
Nile crocodile production is restricted to Central and Southern Africa, with Zimbabwe being the major producer, closely followed by South Africa and Zambia. Approximately 45% of all Nile crocodile skins are produced in Zimbabwe, and Padenga makes up around 50% of the country’s production.
Global demand for crocodilian skins is driven primarily by the demand for high value leather goods produced by top-tier fashion and luxury brands. Of the approximately 350,000 alligator skins produced annually, around 70% goes to the high end market, albeit most are for the manufacture of watchstraps. In Nile, the proportion of premium grade skins produced is significantly less, with only around 50,000 skins meeting the quality demands of the premium brands.
Padenga has, since 2011, consistently supplied 40,000 plus skins annually into this market, and strives to remain the predominant supplier of this product worldwide.
Padenga’s focus on absolute quality over quantity has resulted in the production of larger skins at a consistently high quality level that are optimal for the manufacture of expensive ladies handbags and small leather goods. Initiatives continue annually to further improve the standard of skins delivered and to cement the Company’s position as the only volume producer of premium quality Nile skins.