The Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) has proposed a new measure that would require local sellers of second-hand clothing, popularly known as mitumba, to include at least 10 percent of garments produced locally in their inventory. The move aims to reduce the country’s reliance on imported second-hand clothing and footwear and boost local textile and apparel manufacturing.
In a report titled “Overview of Kenya’s Textile and Apparel Sector,” KAM stated that a legal framework should be developed to enforce the ‘Buy Kenya Build Kenya (BKBK)’ initiative, requiring all government ministries, departments, and agencies to source from domestic textile manufacturers. The trade body believes that this would enable Kenya to create approximately 200,000 new jobs by 2030 and save the country over Sh40 billion annually by halving the import of used clothes.
According to KAM, the implementation of the proposal will enable an estimated $300 million (Sh40.8 billion) worth of fabric supply to export processing zones (EPZs). The association is calling on the government to revive cotton ginneries and textile mills and increase spinning capacity from the current 39 percent to at least 65 percent by 2030.
The proposal has been received positively by stakeholders in the country’s textile and apparel sector, who have long called for measures to reduce the importation of second-hand clothing. Many local textile and apparel manufacturers have been unable to compete with the low prices of second-hand clothing, which is often sold at a fraction of the cost of locally produced garments.
The implementation of the proposal would also contribute to the growth of Kenya’s economy, as the textile and apparel sector is a significant source of employment and revenue. The government has yet to respond to KAM’s proposal, but stakeholders in the sector are optimistic that the proposal will be given due consideration.
In conclusion, KAM’s proposal to require local sellers of second-hand clothing to include a minimum of 10 percent of locally produced garments in their inventory could be a significant step towards reducing the importation of used clothes and boosting the local textile and apparel sector. The implementation of the proposal will require the government’s support, including the development of a legal framework to enforce the ‘Buy Kenya Build Kenya’ initiative and the revival of cotton ginneries and textile mills .