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Friday, February 23, 2024

Kenya promoting synthetic textiles

To cut reliance on imports, the Kenyan government is encouraging private firms to manufacture synthetic fabrics locally targeting both Kenyan and export markets.

Currently textile manufacturers import all of their synthetic fabrics, particularly from East Asian countries as the country lacks textile mills to produce fabrics to the required quantity and quality, especially for the export market.

The Ministry of Investments, Trade, and Industry has invited manufacturers to express interest in manufacturing synthetic fabrics for the textile and apparel subsector in Kenya. Organic fabrics which are made from organic materials such as cotton, wool, silk, and linen, and synthetic fabrics are made from petrochemicals.

The ministry pointed out that in the recent past, there have been efforts by both government and private sector to promote cotton growing to address the shortage of cotton lint. However, there is a need to promote the manufacture of synthetic fabrics which form a huge part of raw materials for both domestic and export markets.

Most textile firms operate from within the export processing zones (EPZ) where they enjoy preferential tax rates. The total consumption of fabric in the country is estimated to be 100 million meters per year.

Kenya generates over $500 million (Sh73.9 billion) annually from exports of textiles and apparel which account for about 30 percent of total industrial export growth. The ministry said successful bidders will be allowed to join the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) or EPZ program to enjoy different incentives offered by the government.

Production of textiles shrunk by 3.3 percent in 2022.

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