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Forex shortage cripples Zimbabwe textile sector

Textile companies in Zimbabwe don’t have the foreign currency for importing raw materials. The country is facing a serious shortage of forex. US dollars are being sold in the black market at exorbitant rates. Textile production has been greatly affected. Units can’t access forex needed for importing vital raw materials such as yarn, dyes and chemicals.

Thousands of employees are likely to be affected if things remain the same. The apparel sector in Zimbabwe currently operates at less than 30 per cent of its capacity. The industry that once used to employ over 40,000 people now employs only 8,000 workers.

Zimbabwe is flooded with cheap textile and apparel imports from Asian countries, especially from China. These low-priced textile and apparel imports have had a negative impact on the manufacturing sector in Zimbabwe. Textile and apparel manufacturers want a ban on imports of cheap polyester knitted fabric and finished blankets.

Other problems plaguing the industry in Zimbabwe are poor performance, low productivity, out of date technology, and lack of investment and government support. Production of cotton had significantly declined in recent years owing to the high cost of production and unending fights over pricing between farmers and merchants.