Garment factory seeks land to grow cotton

The Chronicle

Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Journalist

BULAWAYO’s garment manufacturer, Ticoz Clothing Company, is seeking land to venture into cotton cultivation to promote value addition in the cotton-to-garment sector.

The company’s latest move is in line with the country’s National Development Strategy 1 (NDS 1), a five-year master plan anchoring the economy between 2021 and 2025.

The Second Republic aims to boost productivity across all sectors, and the private sector must play a key role in the journey towards achieving an upper-middle-income economy by 2030.

In an interview on Tuesday after a tour of the company’s factory by Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce, Raji Modi, who was accompanied by Permanent Secretary Dr Mavis Sibanda and ministry officials, Ticoz operations director Ms. Tafadzwa Gumede said her organization aimed to put five hectares under the initial phase of the cotton project.

For the white gold mining project, Ms. Gumede said they were looking for land in the southern region of the country.

“We are always looking at the value chain from cotton to garments; we are even looking for land. Maybe even if we get 5ha, we can start from there,” she said.

“Traditionally, we look at the Gokwe and Triangle areas; that’s where most of the land is, but I’d like to say there are more areas in Zimbabwe.

Some of the cotton growing regions of Zimbabwe are Matabeleland North in areas such as Nkayi; Mashonaland West covering places like Sanyati and Mhondoro; Mashonaland East at Mudzi, Mutoko, Murewa; Mashonaland Central in Rushinga, Nyakarowa, Dambakushamba, Nyamahubogo and Shamva as well as Matabeleland South Province in Insiza, Matobo and Mangwe districts.

“Currently we are doing soil testing so that we can also optimize this region to even start planting cotton in rural areas where we can also train these people in cotton planting so that even if we leave they can still make the project work which can also help the community,” Ms. Gumede said.

“We want to produce cotton and understand the properties that make cotton. So for us, since this aspect (textiles) is new, now we have to start doing research and development in this direction, so this is what we are looking for.

Going forward, the manufacturing company would hire cotton growers across the country for outgrower programs to boost its operations.

Currently, the Ticoz plant at Belmont Industrial Site in Bulawayo is operating with just 10% of the 450 workers the company needs when operating at full capacity.

Despite challenges such as the contradictory effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, limited access to tenders on government projects and low frequency of access to forex from the weekly foreign exchange auction system from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, the garment manufacturer embarked on capacity building. programs for young women and orphans.

“We also do a lot of training, we run training programs for orphans and women as part of skill building because a lot of our tailors are older and they are moving away from the industry,” he said. she stated.

“So now we can get young people to rejuvenate the industry, and production will instantly increase so we can export.

“What we need is more skilled labor and more trainees. Once we do that, we can export more and faster,” Ms. Gumede said.

In the past, the manufacturing company supplied both domestic and overseas markets to countries in the region like South Africa and Zambia, supplying corporate and leisure wear.

Currently, Ticoz focuses on the local market supplying the retail and industrial sectors.

Deputy Minister Modi and his delegation are on a four-day tour of industries in Bulawayo, which ends tomorrow. Companies such as Zimplow Holdings, Machtec, Ingwebu Breweries, Cotton Pro and Zimbabwe Grain Bag are part of their itinerary.

The delegation is expected to end its tour by visiting Barmore Investments, Plus Five and Sondelani Ranching. – @KazungaOliver

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