By Abdi Hussein
The Athi River based Export Processing Zone (EPZ) companies will now target the global market as textile product exports normalize.
The textile industry bore the brunt of Covid 19 pandemic in the last six months with most local companies opting for the local market to sell Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and face masks.
The government temporarily lifted the restriction that compelled EPZs to sell only 20 percent of their annual production in the local market to 100 percent in March to cushion them from Covid 19 effects.
That was after major export markets for EPZ products comprising Europe and the United States shut down airports and sealed off their borders to curb the spread of the virus.
The exportation logistics chain was
cut down prompting the government to intervene.
However most textiles are now focusing on exports as the global market continues to stabilize.
EPZ chairman Paul Gicheru said the global market is opening up steadily and companies under the EPZ umbrella are receiving constant orders from US and Europe.
He said the positive trajectory has seen some of the companies that had laid off workers recall them to provide the much needed human Capital.
“Most of the EPZ companies are now eyeing the global market. The market is constant and they are able to sell in large volumes with better profit margins. We are expecting a double digit growth in garment export in the next six months,” said Gicheru.
The EPZ Authority is also eyeing expansion to foster the much needed growth in local manufacturing.
A new company dealing with Avocado
value addition and export has recently opened doors at EPZ Athi River.
“EPZ is eyeing expansion of the industrial zones in various counties across the country,” added Gicheru.
He said they have already reviewed the law to allow the private sector set such special zones.
“We are also encouraging local
companies for value addition of their products to reap maximum benefits in the
global market,” he added.
A spot check within Athi River EPZ zone indicates the Authority has dealt with water shortage crisis by ensuring constant supply to more than 18 companies.
Government Covid 19 measures are adhered to with some companies operating in shifts to avoid workers congestion.
New Wide Garment General Manager Ludoff Isinga said the company is operating at 70 percent with international orders now trickling in.
The company boasts of more than 6,000
Athi River EPZ zone is the financial backbone to both Kitengela and Athi River towns. It hosts more than 20 textiles companies and others operating agri-business and food industries representing 15 countries from Africa and globally.