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Proposed ban on 'mitumba' misplaced

By Joe Musyoki | March 9th 2016

The proposed ban on the importation of second-hand clothes and shoes is like putting the cart before the horse.

It is actually possible for EAC governments to invest in textile industries without banning ‘mitumba’ and let market dynamics correct the situation.

The ban does make sense if it is not also directed at new clothes imports that do not have local content.

Imported new clothes and mitumba operate on different dynamics and its up to local textile manufacturers to create their own market niche based on pricing, quality, taste and target market.

It will be very wrong to blame historical textile sector problems on ‘mitumba’. The question is, how much have the EAC governments done to revive the cotton and silk farming sector to justify the establishment of local textile processing industries?

Are our cotton farmers able to satisfy demand from textile industries in the Export Processing Zone (EPZ) - or do owners of these industries prefer to import raw cotton because our farmers are not doing enough?

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