Whether you’re a retailer looking to source sustainable and traceable garments, or a clothing designer looking for quality apparel, the top garment manufacturing companies in Uganda are here to help. These companies are dedicated to making clothes that are ethical, beautiful, and a joy to wear.
1 Cotton production in Uganda has declined over the past 50 years
Despite being the largest producer of cotton in sub-Saharan Africa, Uganda has been unable to fully exploit its cotton potential. This is mainly due to a number of factors that have prevented the expansion of the sector. The main issue is the low profitability of the industry. It has also been affected by a number of natural disasters. In addition, previous restrictions on exporting surplus cotton have limited the potential for the expansion of the sector.
A recent survey carried out by the Cotton Development Organisation (CDO) suggests that there has been a definite decline in the value added from the cotton sector in Uganda. However, there is no clear explanation of why this has happened. The study also indicates that the demise of the cotton industry is more a matter of government than of individual farmers. It recommends promoting biotechnology in the cotton sector. The article also calls for training the local population in cotton cultivation.
In the pre-colonial era, agriculture had been the main economic activity in Uganda. This is also evident in the historical record of cotton cultivation. In fact, the first recorded cultivation of cotton in the country dates back to the year 1903. The cotton sector, which was characterized by smallholder production, was the sole cash crop in most regions. It has since been replaced by food crops.
While the introduction of cotton was accompanied by the construction of the Mombasa-Kisumu railway in 1901, it was not until the late 1920s that the sector experienced a significant surge in output. This was due to the formal compulsion of farmers to allocate 0.5 ha of land for the production of cotton. In the early 1930s, production reached 60,000 tons.
Interestingly, the official policy also encouraged the small-holder farmers to engage in cotton production through local cooperative associations. This was not only a way of generating revenue for the government but also helped them to adopt more efficient farming practices. The introduction of ginneries greatly helped the farmers.
The low quality of cotton identified as a key constraint has prevented the sector from being able to achieve its full potential. To overcome this, producers need to identify and solve production constraints. Similarly, they need to ensure that their product has a high demand on the domestic and international markets.
2 Sourcing in a volatile world
Despite the recession and the slew of new competitors, the global sourcing landscape has not been static. The rise of low cost Asian countries, coupled with rapid growth in the European Union has seen sourcing by retailers in the US and EU decline. However, the sourcing industry in India has been growing more sustainably.
The multilateral trading system has also helped to increase imports from lower labour cost countries. The benefits of sourcing in a developing country are numerous, ranging from cheaper manufacturing costs to more convenient access to a variety of raw materials. The benefits are also multiplied by the availability of a skilled workforce. Hence, it makes sense for fast fashion retailers to source in low-cost locations.
Although not a patented process, sourcing locally can help achieve two objectives at once, namely a shorter supply chain and a lower total transportation cost. The localisation of production and distribution is particularly pertinent in volatile trading conditions. It is also a good time to consider a collaborative partnership, which could yield benefits for both the supplier and the buyer.
Several studies have been carried out to determine which one is the gold standard in the sourcing category. The results have yielded several interesting findings. Optimal sourcing is not a one size fits all proposition and the decision process is fraught with uncertainties. A few key factors were considered in the research, including cost, time and location.
The most important part of the sourcing puzzle is to identify which of these variables is most important to your business. While the best sourcing location is a function of many factors, the most crucial decision is likely to be based on proximity. For example, Spain is close enough to Europe for a company headquartered in that country to make the most of a supply chain that runs across the world
A small supplier may not have the capacity to make the most of an economic downturn, while a large international apparel company might have the resources to outcompete a smaller rival. The multi-faceted location model outlined above, albeit in an overly simplistic fashion, states that the final decision depends on a combination of the above-mentioned factors.
3 Challenges common to Ethiopia and Kenya
Despite their vast geographical distance, Kenya and Ethiopia share a number of common challenges. They both face a shortage of skilled labour, poor infrastructure, and low labour productivity. Historically, the textile and apparel sector has been a key driver of industrialization in Africa. Although some African countries are not yet able to meet the demands of the global fashion industry, others have been able to produce high-quality clothing and textiles.
As a result, the global apparel industry has taken notice of Kenya and Ethiopia. Some major international companies have started their manufacturing processes in the textiles and apparel sector in these two nations. These companies include H&M, Primark, and Tesco.
However, these companies are facing a variety of challenges. Some of these include poor infrastructure, power cuts, and delivery issues. They also lack skilled human resources, which can negatively impact their manufacturing output.
In addition, both nations share a poor regulatory environment, which limits social compliance. In order to avoid future problems, all stakeholders must work together to ensure social and environmental compliance.
The textile and apparel industry is a large contributor to GDP in both nations. It employs 30 percent of the national labor force. The government has made efforts to diversify textile exports and increase the country’s manufacturing output. In recent years, Ethiopia’s garment sector has attracted international brands such as H&M, Primark, and Tesco.
These factories also pay their workers a modest wage. The average monthly salary ranges from $35 to $40. It is among the lowest in the world.
In addition to wages, some factories offer “extras” to their workers. These include bonuses for attendance, a monthly food allowance, and a bonus for each month. Some factories even provide extra buses to transport their workers. Factory managers argue that their workers are making more money with these perks than with the minimum wage.
These factories are also confronted by the challenge of producing garments in shorter cycle times than their competitors. Their fabrics are often imported from other countries, which leads to a long lead time. The importation of fabric can take as much as 40 days to reach a manufacturing facility. This is a significant limitation for companies competing in the fast-fashion segment.
4 Sustainable and traceable garment manufacturing
During recent years, the fashion industry has come under a lot of scrutiny. The garment and apparel sectors have huge social and environmental impacts. The industry is also complex. Traceability is one of the key issues for the textile industry. It is necessary for sustainability. It provides visibility into the supplier’s practices and allows for better control of the product’s impact on the environment.
The textile industry in East Africa is in desperate need of more sustainable and traceable products. The industry contributes 7% of Kenya’s export earnings and supports the livelihoods of over 200,000 small-scale farmers. However, this sector has been struggling because of the high costs of production and inability to compete in a free market economy.
There are many garment manufacturing companies in Uganda. These firms produce finished garments like shirts. They use fabric that is bought from local fabric makers. But, the problem lies in the fact that not many firms in Uganda have the capacity to produce traceable fabrics. In addition, the cost of finance is another big deterrent.
In the last ten years, the fashion industry has faced intense scrutiny. The second hand clothing trade has devastated the regional textile industries. It has also contributed to the health problems of workers and overloaded communities with waste.
To address this, the fashion industry has been under pressure to improve their supply chain transparency. To do this, the industry must collaborate with all their industry partners and deploy reliable technical solutions. The garment industry in Uganda needs to look inwards and deploy a common approach.
The Sustainability Pledge is a toolkit that was developed by UNECE and invites garment and footwear manufacturers to apply it. The toolkit is designed to provide a framework for sustainable and traceable textile supply chains. It highlights processes, policies, and practices. It also asks governments to adopt the toolkit.
The textile sector in India has been pushing for greater traceability and transparency. This is a big challenge because the industry is highly dispersed. It is difficult to keep track of the entire process and to maintain transparency throughout. It is estimated that less than 10% of brands have complete knowledge of their supply chain.
Henry Pham (Pham Quang Anh), CEO of DONY Garment
This year, we have found that many international buyers are seeking new suppliers based in nations outside of China and Thailand to purchase many goods and products, including uniforms, workwear, reusable cloth face mask, and protective clothing.
At DONY Garment, we are proud to welcome international customers, especially those based in the US, Canada, the Middle East, and the EU market to discover the professional production line at our factory in Vietnam.
We guarantee our products are of the highest quality, at an affordable cost, and easy to transport across the world.