In this edition of “then & now”, we take a look at the various industries in Zimbabwe. We look at how they performed before the economy took a downward turn and how they are performing now.
By Gabriella Kapfunde
TEXTILE AND CLOTHING
Source: YarnsandFibers.com 15 April 2011
The history of the textile industry (spear-headed by the British Cotton Growing Association ), can be traced back to the early 1920’s . According to Mlambo (2006 ), the 1980’s were a period of rapid expansion in Zimbabwe’s clothing and textile industry. 1980-89 witnessed 50% of textile manufacturers and 61% of clothing manufacturers commence their businesses, with over 24000 people employed. However, the period between 2010-2014 has witnessed the textile and clothing sectors face grave challenges due to inadequate finances. According to government statistics, the industries are operating below a 10% capacity. This has led to the closure of companies and thousands of people losing their jobs, with an estimated 4 000 still employed in the industry. In light of the above, it is important to however give credit to the handful of companies that have stood the test of time by producing protective and corporate clothing that have vast export markets.
Source: The Chronicle of Thursdsay 2 February 2017
A joint tomato and fruit processing investment business venture between Schweppes and Zimbabwe Agricultural and Rural Development Authority is targeting to create at-least 3000 jobs (direct and indirect). A tomato canning plant is expected to open in Esigodini in two months time. Equipment from Arda Balu in Umguza Matebeleland that has been lying idle for over two decades is relocating to Esigodini to enable the take off for this project. This will contribute to 30% domestic use since paste has been imported from China for years.
Source: NewsDay of June 9 2014
“Players in the plastic industry want government to put tariffs on the imports to halt the influx of cheap products that threaten the survival of the sector”. The issue of imports flooding Zimbabwean market has brought about a sharp decline in production from 1 200 tonnes to 900 tonnes a year. Manufacturers of plastic pipe systems for water and sewer reticulation, PROPLASTICS, said at their peak, they produced 12 000 tonnes a year. Now, the company has hit a low producing only 4 000 tonnes thus operating at a capacity of only 33% . Global Plastics is operating 4 out of 10 machines due to low demand brought about by irresponsible importing as well as the high costs of operating generators due to power cuts.
By and large, Zimbabwe’s industries have suffered from the economic instability of the country which has led to the closure of many. As the economy recovers, one can see a resuscitation of the industry and subsequently a return to former glory.