Fri, 09 Jun 2017 08:47 - Updated Fri, 09 Jun 2017 08:48
Textile industry rehabilitation with timid signals
Luanda - At a time the expansion of the source of foreign values , the country?s textile industry stands out as one of the supporting pillars of the diversification of the economy.
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By Quinito Bumba (Luanda), Nelson Costa (Malanje) e
Moisés Francisco (Cuanza Norte)
The Angolan Government has invested first in recovering the existing plants, and then taking care of the other part of the matter, which is securing of the raw material that will put them to work. It is an option that, right or wrong, only time will tell.
The other paths could be putting in place conditions for the production of cotton in the country and only later rehabilitating the factories or, as a third option, handling the process simultaneously.
But the government preferred the first option, under a massive 1.2 billion investment in the recovery and modernisation of Africa Têxtil (now Alassola, Benguela), Textang II (Luanda) and Satec (Dondo, Cuanza Norte) .
Although the three projects are not large enough to substantially change the economic growth forecast, the investment applied represents a remarkable step in the process of diversification of the national economy, taking into account the multiplying effect of these investments in the resurgence of auxiliary industries.
In addition to allowing the country to meet its domestic needs, in terms of clothing and sewing, the recovery of these three plants will place Angola in the global clothing and apparel market, thereby inducing the development of the entire value chain of the sector , thus creating thousands of jobs.
The process of rehabilitation and modernisation of the country's three main textile factories started in 2012, with the approval of the project by the Angolan Government, reaching its peak in December 2016, with the start-up of the Alassola Textile, in Benguela, versed in production of fabrics for home use.
After Alassola, the next to come into operation, in June this year, is Satec, located in Dondo town, Cuanza Norte province, expecting to secure 1,600 new jobs, according to Alexandre da Silva Neto, director of the plant.
In the value chain, each of the three plants will focus on one segment to avoid competition among them. Textang II will manufacture fabrics to supply mainly the military, hospitals and schools.
Satec will process fabrics for the production of sweaters and jeans, while Alassola will produce sheets, towels and blankets.
The full rehabilitation of the factories was boosted by a credit line from the Japanese International Cooperation Bank, brokered by the Angolan Government.
The factories have state-of-the-art technology imported from Asian countries, especially South Korea, China and Japan, which currently hold the largest share of the textile market in the world.
Of the amount released by Japan's International Cooperation Bank, Usd 410 million have been invested in Satec, Usd 235 million in Textang II and Usd 480 million in Alassola.
In this first phase of the plants start-up , the raw material is the great constraint, because 100 percent of the cotton will still be imported. Only Satec will need, annually, 6,300 tons of cotton.
For the time being it was imported from India and Greece in enough amounts to ensure the first year of operation. The expectation is that, in the short term, the country will start producing cotton to feed the industry.
The diversification of the economy, through the textile sector, with the rehabilitation of the country’s three main factories, has always been high on the Government’s political agenda.
For this reason, on 23 March this year, the 6th Ordinary Joint Meeting of the Economic and Real Economy Committees of the Cabinet Council reviewed the feasibility of the textile industry.
In addition to the recovery of the country's three largest textile manufacturing plants, the Government sought to make upstream investments in the raw material production segment by boosting cotton planting.
The forecast is to set up a new area of ??74,000 hectares in Cuanza Sul province, once the "heart" of cotton production, partially financed by South Korea.
With the large-scale cotton re-launch program, the Ministry of Agriculture intends to produce 100,000 tons of cotton per year, 40 per cent of which from small growers and the remainder from large scale plantations.
For the 2016/2017 harvest, starting in July this year, 242 more tons of cotton are expected from the provinces of Malanje and Cuanza Sul, which is a residual amount and well below the needs of the three textile plants estimated at 24,000 tons/year. To cover the domestic supply deficit, the three manufacturing plants are resorting to the external market, at a time Angola is troubled by problems of currency, a factor that can increase the production of textiles and make them less competitive in relation to imported clothing.
As a result of this situation, the cotton production programme of the Ministry of Agriculture was born, under coordination of Carlos Canza.
The official told Angop that the process involves a cooperative in Malanje, an association of peasants in Cuanza Sul and "Africa Sementes", a company that exploits vast lands in the latter province, to produce seed cotton.
Given the market needs for the 2017/2018 crop year, the cotton growing programme is planning to extend the production area from 242 hectares to 1,500 hectares for a harvest of 1,500 tons in an average of one ton/hectare . "In the next agricultural season (2017/2018), estimated at about Akz 530 million, the Agriculture sector is planning to grow in the provinces of Malanje and Cuanza Sul 1,500 tons of cotton in an area of ??1,500 hectares," he announced.
Carlos Canza added that for the realisation of this project, 30 tons of seeds have been purchased to be sown as from February 2018.
For the gradual progression of the cotton recovery programme in the country, the sector is also planning to cultivate 10,000 hectares of land with the drip irrigation system at the Capanda Agro-industrial Growth Point (Malanje), to be implemented In the near future, by a Japanese company.
This project aims to collect 50,000 tons of seed cotton for each agricultural period, in an estimated yield of five per hectare, which will help to respond to the demand of the industrial sector.
As to the private sector, the agronomist highlighted the company "Africa Sementes", which has contributed, since 2010, an annual average of two thousand tons of cotton, which were previously exported when the textile industries in the country were inoperative.
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