Hailing from Vellaturu a small village near Tenali in Guntur district, Pamidimukkala Venkata Sambasiva Rao is making waves in Kenya being one of the earliest to take the leather processing technology to that country.
While living in Vellatur village of Bhattiprolu mandal, he never imagined that he could transform the way the leather industry functioned in the eastern part of Africa. India's well-known leather scientist Yalavarthy Nayudamma's in-laws lived in the same village.
Added to this, Mr. Rao's father Leela Prasad was a scientist at the Central Leather Research Institute in Chennai. This created a natural interest in Mr. Rao for leather technology and finished his M.Tech in it.
He was offered a manager's job in a Kenyan company during the International Leather Fair held at Chennai in 1982. After a few years, Mr. Rao learnt the finer aspects of the leather trade in Kenya.
He sensed that there was much potential for the leather processing and set up his own firm `Alpha Rama Limited' in 1995 based at Nairobi.
The company basically dealt with the technology to convert raw leather into processed leather. In Kenya, raw leather is usually exported to other countries where it is processed.
"Our company was the pioneer which brought the leather processing technology to the country," Mr. Rao told.
Within a few years, Alpha Rama became a leading company in the Central Africa region with more than 600 employees on its rolls. Much of the raw leather is processed in Kenya itself, saving the huge export cost and the high-priced finished product.
Today, Alpha Rama exports its processed leather to a number of countries, including India.
"Thirty-five per cent of our exports go to China, despite a stiff competition and aggressive marketing by other players," says Mr. Rao.