Ethiopia: Nation Facilitating Inputs, Capacity Building to Improve Textile Productivity

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The major hindering factors in the textile industry today are mainly lack of inputs and management experience. Shortage of inputs, especially the shortage of cotton has been constraining the sector from productivity. However, the country is exerting more efforts to provide sufficient lint cotton to the sphere companies. This fiscal year, the nation has planned to supply 60,000 MT cotton to the industries. The major measure that has been taken to curb the shortage was cultivating a wide cotton cropland which is part of the national cotton development strategy.
Aimed at substituting imported cotton to textile industries and save foreign currency, Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock is working to improve cotton production. The ministry is exerting efforts to improve cotton production so as to permanently stop importing and launch exporting cotton within 15 years. This could be realized through installing technologies and encouraging private owners in the sector, Ministry Crop Cultivation Expert Getachew Mulye stated.
He believed that if the ongoing efforts are enhanced, the country would possibly stop importing and export cotton to the international market shortly. The ministry would properly utilize the sphere resources including wide cropland, suitable environment and sufficient labor force for improved cotton productivity, Getachew said.
Today, the country is exerting efforts to cover 100, 000 hectares of land and produce 280,000 tons of cotton. The national endeavor is to solve the problem related to shortage of cotton that caused by the increasing number of textile industries. Of course, shortage of cotton among other inputs has been highly affecting the sector industries from producing a high volume product based on their plan. And this restrained the country to get the needed benefit from the textile industry.
The information from the Ethiopian Textile Industry Development Institute indicated that the country’s textile industry is running under capacity despite the human and natural resource. Last year, the institute has earned 109 million USD which is 46 percent of the annual plan. The low accomplishment is the result of companies’ low execution capacity and lack of inputs, said Institute Director General Sileshi Lemma.
On the other hand, additional hindering factors including absence of market linkage and the delay of some industries to run business have been constraining the sector, he told. This year, the nation has planned to generate 240.4 million USD from textile and apparel product export. By doing so, the institute would create 30,000 jobs in the sector and support 32 medium and large scale apparel investment projects to begin production. According to Sileshi, most of the textile industries are employing less than sixty percent from the general capacity.
There is power fluctuation which adds more to the less productivity in the sector. The institute is working with stakeholders to reduce challenges and achieve a better result. It is working with the government bodies to facilitate foreign currency to run the sector with its full swing by enabling the industries using at least eighty percent of their general capacity. The effort is to improve the export of finished textile product and increase the gain secured from it, according to the Director General.
Among the 68 textiles and apparel industries that have been producing export textile product, 20 of them are running by local investors. And they have achieved 16.8 million USD or 44 percent of their plan last fiscal year. The internal problem among the industries is lack of management and technical experience. The industries have low management capacity to improve productivity and product quality when they are compared to the sector industries in the world.
Consequently, the institute is working to support the industries by specifying their shortcomings. It has been giving operation system training on how to improve the quality of products through implementing Kaizen system. On the other hand, the institute is also working with UNIDO to facilitate such supports to the industries through participating experts from nine higher learning institutions including universities and TVETs to bring about modern production scheme that goes with the current world system. The enhanced support includes the whole companies engaged in the textile industry whether those working in the industrial parks or running in their own industries.
Therefore, supporting the industries to run business with full capacity would help the country to secure more income from textile product export. To this end, working closely with the industries would help to reach them with the needed type of support. Moreover as it is going well, strengthening the universities and industries linkage would help to improve productivity through employing world-class knowledge. It is also significant to make smooth the way forward.  Furthermore, to upgrade the country’s textile industry, major stakeholders need to know pretty well one thing that how to utilize the plenty human resource, inputs and the suitable environment.

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