Largest shoe manufacturer in Zimbabwe forced to import textile from Kenya

ZIMBABWE’S largest shoe manufacturer, Bata Shoe Company has said that it has been forced to import textile from Kenya as harvests from the local textile sector hit the lowest levels since independence.

A poor cotton season which saw the country manage to harvest about 30 000 tonnes of the white gold has had a debilitating effect on the cotton industry value chain. This has resulted in the country’s largest textile manufacturer Zimbabwe Spinners and Weavers downsizing its operations and failing to meet local demand for textiles.

Bata managing director Mr Ehsan Zaman told Zimbabwe’s Business Chronicle that in light of the shortage of textiles, the company is importing textile from Kenya leading to increased cost of production.

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Mr Zaman said “We are not getting consistent supplies of textiles for our factory and we employ for our canvass factory around 250 workers. So this is very sensitive for us and therefore we applied to Government for permission to import specific quantity and the response was positive.”

“The cost of doing business in the country is already high and by importing from Kenya it becomes even higher. We would therefore prefer to buy locally to be competitive and get better quality materials,” he added.

Mr Zaman said importing textiles might have a negative impact on the company’s exports mainly in the region.

Zimbabwe’s Bata shoe company exports some of its products such as tennis shoes to Zambia, Malawi and Botswana and requires 700 000 square metres of textile annually to satisfy demand for its canvas factory.

About Bata

Bata Shoe Company is a family-owned global footwear and fashion accessory manufacturer and retailer with headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland. The business is organized into three units: Bata Europe, based in Italy; Bata Emerging Market (Asia, Pacific, Africa and Latin America), based in Singapore, and Bata Protective (worldwide B2B operations), based in the Netherlands. The company has a retail presence of over 5200 retail stores in more than 70 countries and production facilities in 18 countries.

(Story from Zimbabwe Daily News, Editing by Kenyan Wall Street)