Big traditional textile industry garment making companies in Zimbabwe have been blamed for taking advantage of new small textile industry players by creating artificial shortages to induce high pricing.
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Anesu Michael Maposa, Director for Indigo Prints, which specializes in textiles, fashion, screen printing, embroidery, brand merchandising and bespoke textiles blamed this glitch for the failure of new players in the sector.
There are only about four textile industry suppliers in Zimbabwe, forcing new players to opt for imported material as prices are overcharged.
“Zimbabwe must be manufacturing its own products, the country has a vibrant cotton producing sector which only needs support especially towards local value addition,
“Indigo Prints has been operating for three years now, our clientele is growing but the growth of the sector has been affected by a continually shrinking textile industry,
“We are a comprehensive one-stop shop for promotional garment manufacturing needs including printing and logo embroidery, we supply a large range of wholesale clothing to a wide and varied list of clients including embassies, non-governmental organisations, printers, fashion designers, schools, gyms, production companies, sports academies, hotels, restaurants, corporate clients and large retail chains in Zimbabwe, has it not been for the viability challenges, the company could have somewhere” he said.
Another growing concern in the clothing and textile industry sector, especially among the smaller companies, is the continuous growth of the second-hand clothing market and illegal imports from within the SADC region.
This has been worsened by a massive closure of textile industries such as David Whitehead which been facing operational challenges of late.
Former chairman of the Clothing Manufacturers Association of Zimbabwe Muzariri said that the problems faced by the sector were diverse and most companies are operating below capacity around 40%.
“Strategies need to be put in place to improve operations, major challenges faced by the sector include the influx of cheap imported clothing from China, a lot of second-hand clothes are being sold in open spaces,
“The textile industry sector is fast losing its domestic market share forcing companies in the sector to close, downsize its labour force, reduce production capacity. Companies are not only failing to maintain the local market share but also the international market share for those that were involved in the export business”, said Muzari.
Minister of Industry and Commerce, Mike Bimha concurred with sentiments of the textile players adding that government was working out modalities to protect the local industry from cheap imports,
“The ministry has removed second-hand clothing, blankets and woven fabric from the open general import licenses whose importation in large quantities was threatening the viability and growth of the sector,” said Bimha.
Indigo Prints, like many other new players, could contribute significantly to the development of the country and in employment creation if policies that support especially new and small players are formulated and implemented.
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