Despite the global COVID-19 turmoil, Bangladesh’s readymade garment (RMG) export defied all odds to score a spectacular export performance in the first six months of FY2021-22.
From July to December of FY2021-22 RMG industry exported $19.9 billion, according to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data. Gaining 28.02% compared to the same period last year – which was $15.545 billion.
At the same time, the two sub-sectors of apparel – the knitwear and woven garment also achieved tremendous performance in the July to December period of FY2021-22.
The knitwear sector exported $11.16 billion, which is 30.91% higher compared to the same period last year.
Asif Ashraf, Director, BGMEA said to Textile Today, “This outstanding 30.91% growth of knitwear sector is the reflection of apparel industry’s hard work. At the same time, the regional scenario of order shifting from China, Myanmar turmoil and the COVID situation in Vietnam has boosted our orders. under the leadership of BGMEA.”
“The BGMEA’s leading from the front has given the RMG industry the mileage it needed. Like in the COVID-19 situation, our leadership has convinced the govt. by emphasizing the risk of keeping the factories closed and at the same time benefits of keeping the factories open. And ultimately showed the govt. that the garment industry can keep the factories open maintaining the health and safety standards,” Asif Ashraf said.
Asif added, “The increase in raw material price is one of the reasons that we got a little better prices this year.”
Another sub-sector, the woven segment suffered most in the pandemic period. But most amazingly the long underperforming woven sector exported $8.73 billion – achieving an outstanding 24.50% six-month period growth.
In December alone, the woven sector broke all previous records after attaining $1.86 billion, the maximum in a single month and up 48.17% year-on-year, according to EPB data.
Industry experts say with the opening of global economies the brands and retailers were placing adequate orders as demand increased for formal wear.
Though, since the local weavers can supply only 40% of raw materials for woven garments, manufacturers have to depend on Chinese suppliers for the rest of the fabrics. And any disruption to the Chinese supply chain may sternly affect Bangladesh’s garment export. So, local garment manufacturers need to reinforce their capacity in the woven sector.
Asif highlighted the future perspective of the apparel export trend. He said, “As we are in the market, we can see that this upward trend will sustain in the long run.”
“We are at a critical juncture of the apparel manufacturing shift. We might miss the train if we do not take the right decision at the right time,” Asif said.
“For us, the govt. need to facilitate the RMG industry with better logistics support, raw material support to cut lead time – which will also cut cost – to sustain the growth. For example, only Benapole land port is open to import cotton and yarn from India – as till now a majority of cotton and yarn comes from India. BGMEA has urged the govt. to permit all the land borders to facilitate cotton and yarn import.”
“Recently, BGMEA sat with Bangladesh railway – it showed that the railway has the logistics to bring cotton and yarn from Banglabandha land port to the west side of the Jamuna Bridge rail station. And this will reduce lead time and reduce cost. Overall if the apparel industry is given all the necessary facilities, then the industry will move to a new height.”