Call for industry to value add cotton

By Yolanda Moyo

THE clothing manufacturing industry is calling for a multi-stakeholder approach to strengthen cotton value chains and propel the growth of the sector.

The call was made by Zimbabwe Clothing Manufacturers Association chairperson, Mr Jeremy Youmans in an interview with ZBC News in Bulawayo this Tuesday.

“Clothing is often used to help build an economy and it is a great way of industrialising because it doesn’t require a lot of capital. Many countries have used clothing industry as one of the key drivers of the economy and Zimbabwe has a potential to do so,” said Mr Youmans.

Youmans is convinced that a multi-stakeholder approach is the way to go in the country’s re-industrialisation process.

“We have an enormous opportunity to realise this chain. We need to develop the cotton chain. There is a bit of work being done and we need a national strategy and national buy in. If this is successful, then as Zimbabwe we will have to grow, make and buy Zimbabwean goods. We need to industrialise to stabilise these ups and downs that are going on. A market-driven approach would develop the whole value chain, including edible oil and animal feed as by-products of the cotton seed,” he said.

Under the National Development Strategy One, government has strengthened agro-based value chains such as cotton to clothing as it seeks to create more jobs, promote import substitution and boost export receipts.

The clothing industry remains strategic to Zimbabwe’s economy as it has the potential to create jobs and improve the economic value of cotton.