Textile and clothing industry operating below capacity

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THE government has identified retooling and recapitalisation of the local textile industry as key for the sector to improve its contribution to the country’s gross domestic product.

The once-flourishing local textile and fashion industry is currently under siege from an influx of imported fabrics and clothing.

However, the launch of the Zimbabwe Fashion Council in Harare this Thursday saw stakeholders sharing ideas on how to turn around the fortunes of the sector.

The Minister of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development, Dr Honourable Sithembiso Nyoni noted the importance of continued retooling and recapitalisation for the sector to reclaim its domestic and international market share.

“Zimbabwe was known for its hand-picked cotton, the production of special Zimbabwean material called lulu and companies such as Julie Whyte were very much well known nationwide, regionally and internationally,” she said.

“These companies were contributing to the national cake in a big way. We would like to regain that name.”

Zimbabwe Fashion Council Chairperson, Mr Partson Gatsura noted the need to unlock the full potential of the textile and fashion industry in the entire value chain.

“We must promote the local fashion industry across the entire value chain so it can also contribute to the country’s GDP on a sustainable basis. The vision is that the industry be a catalyst for development,” he said.

The government has already shown its commitment to revive the local textile industry after entering into an agreement with a diversified business group, Agro-Value Chain (AVC) to accelerate the revitalisation of David Whitehead Textiles.

The group has already injected US$18 million that will pave the way for the installation of new equipment, which includes ginning and spinning machines.