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6 March 2018 | Opinion/Feature

Government Need To Support Cottage/Small Scale Textile Industry

Dzadey Michael Sitsofe
Government Need To Support Cottage/Small Scale Textile Industry

Textiles deal with all forms of processing, production and finishing of textile fabrics from fibers state. In cultural wise, textile can be classified under two major categories thus; indigenous and contemporary textiles. However, there are other categories such us; woven and nonwoven, those made with manmade fiber and those made with Natural fibers etc.

Cottage industry is any small scale or back yard factory established by a person or a group to produce on commercial bases. Before the arrival of the colonial masters and industrial revolution era, there were activities of skilled men or women producing textiles and other artifacts for functional purposes. This includes women spinning of cotton and weaving of typical indigenous textiles. In Ghana, those indigenous textiles include coarse fabrics such as Kente, Fugu/ smock etc.

The industrial revolution which was a transition to new manufacturing processes in the period of around 1760 to 1840 brought a lot of changes and innovation and textile was the leading industry of the industrial revolution; it became one of the strongest pillars of Ghana’s income generation and job Creation Avenue. There were a lot of foreign influences such as; techniques, processes, methods, concept, tools and materials for textiles production.

There were two (2) categories of textile industries thus; the large scale (plant) and small scale (cottage). The large scale were normally run by big investors and government, well established and producing high quality and commercial based product for Ghanaians and for export, making use of contemporary technologies and processes. On the other hand small scale textile factories were own by average Ghanaians with standard capacity to produce on commercial but low scale. This category uses more manual or hand processes than machine and contemporary technologies.

Global deindustrialization seems to affect majority of textile industries and Ghana textile industry was not exempted, In recent times the industry has gone through difficult times resulting in shutting down of production lines of most of the textile plants whiles majority shut down completely irrespective of bailout attempts by government. However it appears the cottage textile industries remain unperturbed, resolute and still in production.

In considering many studies and analysis, it appears that the reason why the major textiles industries are folding up whiles the cottage ones were flourishing could be based on the following.

  1. Because the major textile factories utilized more of contemporary techniques, machineries, tools and materials unlike cottage industries which utilize little or none of the above mentioned;
  1. Major/ large scale textiles industries demands expensive and periodic, maintenance and replacement of parts not manufactured here in Ghana unlike small scale once.
  2. Easier to copy and produce (duplicate) or pirate the designs and brands of large scale textiles industries resulting in unhealthy competition, while other textile power houses find it unattractive to venture into indigenous techniques and manual processes used my cottage textiles industries in producing unique and exquisite textiles such as, Batik, tie-and-dye, kente etc. making the market less competitive.

  1. Because of the use of machines in almost all of the textile processes, this result in the use of power which must be stable but the energy sector in Ghana failed to provide power or energy on constant basis. However the cottage industries employs more of manual or hand processing so end up using little or no power in the processes.

  1. The capacity and reputation of the factory also calls for expensive labor with risk allowances and other incentives etc. However the small scales make use of its low reputation to employ cheap labor which ends up spending less on cost of production or employee maintenance.

After considering all these, it was still accepted that cottage or small scale textile industries also faces some notable challenges which cause some to shut down for short and longer periods and this was due to the fact that most of them normally use imported chemicals, yarns and fabrics for their textile processes and shortage of any of this will defiantly cause a shutdown, redundancy, loss of local and foreign customers which will later reflect on the Gross Domestic Product of the country. In order to avoid these, the government can follow the following recommendations.

  1. The government must conduct an intensive survey on small scale textile industries in regard to.
  1. Number of existing small scale textile manufacturing units, number of those shut down, number of workers employed, number of redundancy as a result of shut down.
  2. Quantity of grey baft and mercerized cotton used per month including their sources.
  3. Chemicals used in processes and sources.
  1. If the survey proved that the demand for the grey baft is high enough then there will be a need to revamp the Volta Star textile factory that previously produced and supplied quality grey baft to major, small scale and other foreign textile industries.
  2. Now that Ghana is mining crude oil in commercial quantity, the chemical industry must wake up to the call to serve Ghana textile industry in terms of manufacturing of chemicals from petroleum residues for textiles processes rather than depending on importation of chemicals.
  3. All small scale textile industries must be registered under the association of small scale industry or under a new umbrella to facilitate monitoring, supports in terms of loan, aids and grants, including capacity building on; industrial safety precautions, exportation opportunities as well as exports to America under African Growth and Opportunity Act AGOA, entrepreneurship, online market exploitations, proposals writing, business and marketing plan and active education and advertisement of local designs and textile products.

It is evident that the consideration of all this will boost the textile industry, create job, improve the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) and also improve on the socio-economic development of Ghana.

Article by
Dzadey Michael Sitsofe
Bachelor of Technology, Industrial Art Textiles
[email protected]

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