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Ethiopia takes steps to increase textiles exports

Ethiopia’s textile exports have reached only 70 per cent of the target for the 2015-16 fiscal year. One reason is that companies have a strong focus on local market. Their managerial and technical capacities are not developed. Other reasons include power outage and fluctuations, shortage of manpower and high attrition, weak company linkages, investment project implementation delays and the like.

The country has a comparative advantage in cotton production. But due to El Nino, over 14,000 hectares of cotton plantation were damaged and replanted with other crops. However, a total of 65,000 hectares was reversed from sugar to cotton production. Though the textile sector has been growing significantly from time to time in terms of capacity, scale, production, employment and export, much remains to be done. And because of the practice of crop rotation, it is impossible for producers to plant cotton every year. If the land is covered with cotton this year, it has to be covered with another crop, say, sesame, the next year.

Five universities have launched textile programs to produce engineers for the sector. Industrial parks suitable for textile production have also been established. Besides formulating the appropriate policy framework, work is on to produce the manpower needed to develop the textile industry and exports. In addition, various institutions have been established to provide support to the sector.