The Ethiopian Textile and Fashion Technology Institute’s 10th Annual International Workshop on Cotton Textile and Garment Value Chain in Africa started today at Bahir Dar University Wisdom Building. Opening the meeting, the Deputy Mayor of Bahir Dar said the Ethiopian government’s Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) is one of the sectors that will contribute to the country’s development strategy. It is hoped that this conference will highlight our current and future efforts to achieve the goals of the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) and honor the victory over poverty.
According to Dr. Tamrat Tesfaye, Scientific Director of the Ethiopian Textile and Fashion Technology Institute, the Ethiopian Textile and Fashion Technology Institute was established in 2001 EC, but its history dates back to 1955 EC, 60 years ago with a diploma program in textile technology at the former Bahir Dar Polytechnic Institute. The institute has been a Bahir Dar University institute since 1991 and has been training its undergraduate and postgraduate programs as well as 11 undergraduate programs. He also said that the institute will provide research and technology transfer activities, technical trainings and consulting services to the textile and garment industry. The conference will play an important role in the development of the textile, leather and clothing sector in Africa, especially in Ethiopia, in order to meet international market challenges.
The conference aims to address and document the challenges of the cotton, textile and garment value chain challenges in Africa. It presents collaborative research / projects by scholars and supporting stakeholders, and the outcome of the interaction between the participants is provided as an input to policy makers. It also provides access to community-based research results and technology inputs.
The guest of honor at the workshop was Dr. Milkesa Jagema, Director General of the Manufacturing Industry. Discussing important issues related to the garment and leather manufacturing sector has a significant impact on economic growth. According to Dr. Melkesa, the main objective of the Poverty Reduction Strategy (MDG) is to achieve rapid development growth through the production of high quality industrial products and the strengthening of the export-oriented manufacturing sector. The textile and leather sectors are at the forefront of agricultural industry development. This is a great way to contribute to the development of the country and to be part of the value chain. He said due to the ongoing changes in the industry, textile and leather technology requires the development of professional research and workshops in line with modern industrialization.
Director General of the Institute of Manufacturing Industries, Dr. Milkesa Jagema, said textile, garment, leather and leather products are being identified as potential markets in Ethiopia. To this end, potential industrial parks in various parts of the country are being built to strengthen with technology and manpower, he said.
Efforts are being made to diversify the supply of knowledge, skills and resources to make the industries more competitive and to cover the domestic market so that they can supply better products to various foreign countries.
Efforts are being made to better benefit local raw materials, including value-added markets, and to provide research support in collaboration with universities.
In particular, he said that the “Let Ethiopia Produce” movement is currently underway. Problems that hinder industrialization are being addressed. He said the current production capacity of industries does not exceed 50 percent. It is planned to increase the share of the sector to 6.8 percent in the next eight years from the current 6.9 percent by strengthening the capacity of local investors.
He said efforts are underway to increase the country’s foreign exchange reserves by 470 million USD last year. The Ethiopian Textile Fashion Technology Institute’s efforts to identify and identify gaps in knowledge and skills in the sector should be encouraged and strengthened. “A lot of work is being done to fill the gaps in the industry,” said Dr. Tamrat Tesfaye, Scientific Director of the Ethiopian Textile and Fashion Technology Institute. He said there is a huge gap in the domestic industry, especially in the skilled labor force and laboratory. To address this, the institute is providing practical training and providing alternative manpower to address the shortage of chemicals in the industry, he said.
In particular, efforts are being made to produce manpower that can replace imported products with better quality textiles, garments and leather products. The institute is currently teaching more than 2,000 students in various programs. At the same time, research is being done to help identify the problems of industries through research. At least 44 research papers were presented at the workshop, with the participation of local and foreign scholars. It is also known that fashion shows, exhibitions and bazaars are part of the program.