Asif Ali Gohar is a renowned entrepreneur of Germany who has been researching and developing vegan alternatives of leather. Asif is a Pakistani expat who moved to Germany when he was 12 years old. Soon after settling in Germany, he was introduced to veganism just at the age of 15. It all started when he worked on a science project where he discovered veganism. Not so later, Asif realized that he could not understand the idea of killing and using animals for human food as well as products.
Veganism is the concept of abstaining from the use of all and any kinds of animal-based products. Initially the idea rotated around dietary limitations such that people who followed veganism did not consume animal-based products. This primarily included refraining from meat and dairy items. However, over the period of time veganism has become more of a lifestyle. Now veganism means abstaining from all kinds of animal-based food and non-food products. Resultantly a number of vegan products have sprung up which are massively sought after by the ever-increasing vegan population.
During his major in business administration at the University of Hamburg, Asif Ali Gohar started tests with rice to produce a leather substitute at home and found a way to convert rice into leather simile. The process primarily used rice as the main agent, but other ingredients such as yeast and acetic acid were also added to make it solidified. While this was originally a home-based experiment Asif was able to record the process and he made efforts to make it better. After years of research, he was able to come up with a method that not only produced good quality vegan leather but was also scalable on industrial level.
The reason for choosing rice as the main raw material was twofold. Pakistan is the 4th biggest rice exporter in the world. It produces a total of 8% of the world’s rice trade. Hence, the supply of raw material is not an issue for a country like Pakistan. Additionally, people are a lot more aware of rice farming in the country when compared to the production of other raw materials.
Moreover, Pakistan is also a leather exporter. Pakistan exports leather in the value of $ 874 million, this amounts to 5.6% of the country’s GDP. Introducing vegan leather with ample amount of raw material can revolutionize the production of leather in the country. Asif is currently in the planning phase and is looking for investors for initiating the project in Pakistan. Vegan leather in Pakistan can be a massive success. As of now, Pakistan is experiencing high trends of veganism. The local population is becoming more aware with each passing day and vegan products are in high demand. In a situation as such, manufacturers can capitalize on the market gap that exists. With Asif Ali’s idea and potential, he can make Pakistan the first country to produce leather in the South Asian region and exporter of vegan leather as well.