Innovation plays a vital role in the development of any industry in a country. It not only allows for the industrial sector to grow but allows to bring forward new ideas so that more and more knowledge is generated and goods can be produced in the economy. In its true essence, Pakistan is an agro-based economy that majorly relies on its agriculture produce for both consumption and the economic activity happening in the country. Rice is one of the major agricultural products that Pakistan produces. Rice is not only produced in Pakistan to meet the local demand but Pakistan also exports 8% of the world’s total rice. It is the 10 largest producer of rice in the world. But, rice is rice and what does it have to do with innovation?

Asif Ali Gohar is Pakistani national who moved to Germany in 2004. At a young age of 12, he alongside his family settled in the city of Hamburg. He started his schooling in Germany and came across the idea of veganism. By the age of 15, he realized that killing animals for food and other products was unjust. As a result, he converted to veganism. Veganism can be regarded as refraining from the use of animal products which include dietary restrictions as well as abstaining from products produced at the expense of animals such as leather. 

During his time at the University of Hamburg he researched vegan substitutes for leather and finally came up with the process of making vegan leather using rice. The leather slime produced also included yeast and acetic acid as bacteria activators. Now this is where Pakistan, innovation and rice come into one picture. 

The dwindling economy of Pakistan is in dire need for an industrial revamp where it produces goods that can be exported and contribute to an export-led growth. Vegan leather as proposed by Asif can help Pakistan’s leather industry undergo a sustainable shift and produce goods for a greater audience. The reason for choosing Pakistan for this project is two-fold, one Pakistan has ample amount of raw material supply which can allow for uninterrupted production for years. Secondly, Pakistan has a very large leather industry that is already catering to a significant amount of international customers. Therefore, a proper market exists. 

However, the notion that dominates all of this is veganism. Veganism has become an increasingly popular phenomenon just in a span of a few years. Usually ideas like these take time to travel to the oriental region or become acknowledged globally. But with veganism, it is equally popular all over the world. Hence, there is an exponential demand for vegan products as more and more people begin to understand that we should not exploit animals for our own benefits. Therefore, Asif Ali Gohar is determined to set up a vegan leather production facility in Pakistan. As of now, he is looking for a team that can help him with understanding the market dynamic of the region along with introducing him to investors willing to be a part of the project.

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