Skip to content
Why has there been a decline in the African Garment Industry?
- Around 8% of cotton traded globally is from sub-Saharan Africa, the vast majority of which originates from smallholder farms. The climate there provides the perfect conditions for cotton with high average temperatures and cycles of dry and wet seasons (Cotton Made in Africa, 2018).
- ¼ million households in Uganda produce and/or earn their livelihood from cotton (Cotton Development Organisation, 2011), making it extremely important to support and invest in.
- Cotton plays an important part in securing food supplies for many subsistence farmers, which is why the demise in the African garment industry has serious consequences.
- In the late 1960s Uganda was the largest producer of cotton in sub-Saharan Africa with 470,000 bales of cotton lint per year, most of which was consumed locally. By 2015/2016 less than 25% of that amount of cotton was produced (Hattem, 2018).
- According to the International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers’ Federation circa 250,000 jobs have been lost in the textile sector in Africa (BBC, 2018).
- Cotton price deflation caused by subsidy schemes in developed countries, such as USA, has fostered a loss of income to African farmers of $250 million annually (Fairtrade Foundation, 2018).
- Fairtrade Minimum Price protects against these volatile market prices, seeking to tackle poverty through better trading terms.
- According to the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) the expansion of the East African Community’s textile industry is paramount to success (Krauß, 2018). In order to increase production capacity financial and social support is required, which ‘Where Does it Come From?’ is achieving in their ‘African Tunics with a Tale’ collection.