Kenya imports large amount of apparel due to high cost of local products

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NAIROBI, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) — Kenya imports about 30 billion shillings (about 272 million U.S. dollars) of apparel annually due to the high cost of local products, a government official said Tuesday.

Lawrence Karanja, the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development chief administrative secretary, told journalists in Nairobi that the country is importing over 70 percent of its retail and fashion needs both in the form of new clothes and second hand.

“There is thus a need for local manufacturers and designers to find the right product and value match to meet the affordability element,” Karanja said during a forum on Kenya’s textile and apparel sector.

Karanja said that one of the challenges facing the domestic clothing sector is that the Kenyan market remains cost driven, due to the low economic status of most of the population. He noted that the government is keen to discuss with the domestic manufacturers to agree on policy support that will increase the competitiveness of the locally manufactured products.

“The aim is to increase the market penetration of locally produced textile and apparel products in both fashion retail mass market and the uniformed markets,” he observed.

He reckoned that more and more people are geared towards purchasing locally manufactured products but don’t have an idea where they can purchase the products.

“For this reason, our manufacturers and designers need to have more linkages with the physical and virtual retail spaces,” Karanja added.

He revealed that the COVID-19 pandemic proved that Kenya needs to look internally and develop local supply chains in the textile and apparel sector in order to meet consumer demand. Enditem

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