Kenya’s mitumba dealers push for setting up of re-export facilities


Dealers in second-hand garments (mitumba) in Kenya need the federal government to introduce sorting centres, saying such services would enable the nation to export clothes to high-demand markets within the US and Europe..

‘‘Sorting facilities will help realise Kenya’s aim of turning into among the many main high-value, high-wage, and high-skill economies in Africa,” mentioned Teresia Wairimu, the chair of the Mitumba Association of Kenya, including that, “Sorting facilities should be established in free zones, given the advantages this confers in allowing goods to enter the zone without tariffs being imposed.”

The affiliation, a foyer for the sector, has been combating to show the financial significance and relevance of the commerce. Kenya and different EAC member nations have been planning for a discount in reliance on second-hand garments by advancing insurance policies to ban the commerce, pushing for the revival of the cotton rising trade, and getting native material producers to extend native attire manufacturing and sale.

But for now, the commerce is prospering, with solely Rwanda having taken concrete steps in the direction of its eventual ban.

Cutting prices

At a media convention in Nairobi on April 24, the affiliation mentioned sorting centres will minimize prices incurred alongside the availability chain.


Commercial sorting centres, the place second-hand garments are graded, are all situated exterior the continent, with the principle hubs in South Asia, Canada, Belgium, the Netherlands and Hungary. This is regardless of Africa having one of many largest used clothes markets on this planet.

According to the report Global Production Networks of the Second-Hand Clothing Industry, 4 out of each 5 individuals on the continent put on second-hand garments.

At the sorting centres, clothes are compressed into bales of fifty kilogrammes and exported. Unsorted second-hand garments are compressed into bales of 500kg to 1000kg, which limits exports.

“The better graded used clothing is exported to central American countries and the lower graded clothing is shipped to Africa and Asia,” mentioned Ms Wairimu.

Special desire

“If all second-hand clothes were sorted here rather than abroad, Kenya would gain up to 14,000 additional jobs,” she added.

However, Johnson Weru, Principal Secretary in Kenya’s Ministry of Industry, Trade and Enterprise Development, mentioned, “One of the things we have been doing is to give special preference to government procurement for our local textile industry. We are keen on promoting our local textile industry.”

The Mitumba Association mentioned their efforts are supposed to complement what the federal government is doing.

“There is too much misunderstanding and misinformation regarding the role of the second-hand clothing sector, following successive attempts to shut down the industry altogether in certain countries,” mentioned Ms Wairimu.

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