The Tailors Association of Malawi (TAM) has called on government to lure foreign investors into the textile industry.
They argue that such investors would help build their capacity and improve productivity, and also kick-start industrialisation in the sector.
TAM general secretary James Chatuwa in an interview on Monday observed that the industrialisation would help to generate wealth as well as create job opportunities for Malawians.
“The government has identified textile garments as a sub-sector with significant potential to grow in the short to medium term. We need to be nurtured to ensure that our contribution to economic growth is attained,” he said.
Chatuwa said to attain growth through productivity and profitability, there is need for the tailors to be innovative.
“We could learn from developed countries such as China, India, Japan and Singapore, among others, on how they developed from third to first worlds,” he said.
Chatuwa believes that investors in the textile and garments sector could help Malawi to attain such development, consequently, aiding the economy to make a transition from agri-based to light manufacturing and industrialisation.
In response to the tailors, Ministry of Industry and Trade spokesperson Wiskes Nkombezi has said government is wooing investors who see opportunities in the country, adding that those in the textile and garments industry are no exception.
“We, however, have targeted investors in the textile industry for a while, but the problem still remains power supply. There is a Chinese company operating in Balaka, for instance, which expressed interest to make fabric locally, but with the issue of energy they cannot,” he said.
Mkombezi said at the moment the country uses imported fabric to make garments observing that the imported material could be made locally if power was adequate.
Over the past few years, according to Chatuwa, tailoring activities in Malawi have been dwindling as few people are showing interest in it because it is portrayed as an inferior profession.
TAM also believes that it is high time the country set up its own tailoring factories that would be run by locals to satisfy both the local and international markets.
Already, with funds from Youth Enterprises Development Fund (Yedef), the association has bought 20 new sewing machines, to be used in training prospective tailors.