Textile companies are struggling to survive as there is no cotton lint left in the country. 210 workers were let go this week at Zimbabwe’s biggest textile mill as there is no work for them. Further losses are expected as raw material stocks are exhausted. Cotton is one of ten value chains identified by government as priorities as part of the national strategy to industrialise and create employment. All exports of cotton lint are subject to export lincensing to ensure enough Cotton is made available to local spinners to value add into yarn and fabrics which they sell to the local clothing sector.
The responsibility for issuing the licences rests with the Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement.According to industry experts, before the export licenses can be approved it must be checked that the local spinners have been supplied.A national regulation states that 30% of the cotton lint produced must be made available for local spinners. TechnoMag caught up exclusively with Association of Cotton Value Adders of Zimbabwe (ACVAZ) Vice Chairman Jeremy Youmans to comment and he said, “We can’t have this situation if we are serious about having a cotton chain in Zimbabwe.
“If no cotton is made available for local manufacturing we have no value chain. Why was it allowed it to be exported. We put all the systems in place to maximise local value addition and then they are not followed and now companies are severely effected with large jobs losses and viability uncertainty.
Mr Youmans added, “That lint was under commercial contracts to the spinners and some of those contracts are not being honoured.If the textile sector can’t produce fabric, and downsize, clothing companies will follow.”
The crop size this year is expected to reach only 47,000 tons. 30% of this should be made available to the local spinners. But the spinners can actually only utilise about half of that meaning ginners are still able to export about 85%. Another industry player said, that whilst a lot of effort was being put into formalising the value chain there was too much personal interest diverting the nation’s assets and preventing the value chain and employment happening.