New drive to revamp textile sector

Photos inside the RIVATEX Company in Eldoret. 30-05-2015. [PHOTO: KEVIN TUNOI/STANDARD]
The Government is exploring ways of reducing the cost of production for the struggling textile industry.

To this end, the State Department of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) is spearheading roundtable discussions with industry stakeholders to establish how to embed the sector into President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four agenda.

TVET Principal Secretary Kevit Desai said yesterday the meetings would explore the seed-to-shop challenges that limit growth in the sector, including the high cost of energy as well as lack of markets for industry players.

“What needs to happen is that institutions such as the Kisumu Polytechnic, with its training and incubation hub, need to create the requisite skills to improve productivity,” he said during a roundtable discussion at the Kisumu Polytechnic.

He said the Government was working on modalities of lowering the cost of production.

Second-hand clothes

Skills and competencies, he said, had been the bane of the industry, which was once one of the country’s top revenue earners.

“The more capacities that exist within competencies, the more we are able to ensure that the right production techniques are utilised and this extends to marketing and value chains in terms of market systems and entrepreneurship models,” said the PS.

The Sh1.5 billion World Bank-sponsored African Centre of Excellence in Textile housed at Kisumu Polytechnic, which is set to admit students from East Africa from next year, is seen as key in the drive by the East African Community countries to phase out second-hand clothes beginning next year. PS Desai said the centre would also help in research and innovation promotion.

The textile and apparel sector is one the 25 intervention areas the Government is leveraging to realise the Big Four agenda by 2022.

The plans to revive the textile industry coincide with a breakthrough in biotechnology cotton whose seeds are set to hit the market after successful trials in Kisumu. Indian firm Lakshmi Machine Works has modernised Eldoret-based Rivatex to enable the firm to compete globally.

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revamptextile sectorVocational Education and TrainingKevit DesaiWorld Bank