THE Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) on Friday made available a total of €4,2 million in funds to kick start the implementation of the Zimbabwe Cotton-to-Clothing Strategy (2014 to 2019) launched by the Industry and Commerce minister Mike Bimha.
The fund was allocated to Zimbabwe under the Comesa regional integration support mechanism programme funded by the European Union of which €1,2 million has been allocated specifically to kick start the implementation of the strategy to ensure the implementation starts immediately.
Speaking during the signing ceremony and clothing indaba organised by Zimbabwe Clothing Manufacturers Association, Comesa secretary-general, Sindiso Ngwenya said it was his hope that funds would help incentivise the government to step in to create an enabling environment for the private sector to expand the textile and clothing industry.
“The grant agreement is meant to commit and facilitate the disbursement of over €4,2 million as project financing for the period 2014 to 2015,” he added.
“In addition, Zimbabwe is set to receive an indicative amount of €1,8 million in 2014 and further indicative amount of over €1,9million, to be disbursed in 2015, which will be for more project components for the period 2014 to 2016”
Ngwenya said he stressed the term “indicative” because Zimbabwe will only secure such resources if the respective regional commitments made for 2013 and 2014 were achieved.
He said the future of the Zimbabwe cotton-to-clothing industry was now in the making, and they had a long way to go.
The strategy aims to improve exports of textile and garment products by 390% to $110 million by 2019.
It also targets to benefit more than 250 000 of small-holder farmers from revenues from cotton and increase the volumes of cotton fibre processed locally to 25%, from the current three to 5%.
Yearly seed cotton production is targeted to reach 450 000 tonnes from current 145 000 tonnes.
Under the programme, more than 40 000 new jobs in the textile and clothing sector would be created.
Bimha said funds were earmarked for value addition programme, namely, cotton-to-clothing, leather products, agro-processing and capacity building, among others.