While Bangladesh’s apparel exports witnessed a 3% during the July-December period of FY21, its foreign currency earnings from the home textile products posted a robust growth by 48% to $547 million.
As per Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data, during the July-December period, the first half of the current fiscal year 2020-21, Bangladesh earned $547.48 million, up by 48% compared to $370 million in the same period of last fiscal year. In the FY20, the sector brought $759 million.
Home textile products include bed linen, bed sheet and other bedroom textiles, bath linen, carpets and rugs, blankets, kitchen linen, curtains, cushions and cushion cover and covers for quilts.
However, exports earnings from the RMG sector declined by 3% to $15.54 billion during H1 of FY21, which was $16 billion in the same period of last year.
Exports earnings from clothing products declined due to the devastating impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, which disrupted the supply chain and reduced demands as people were staying at home.
However, the stay at home increased the demands of knitwear products and home textile items, which helped exporters to earn a better even amid the pandemic.
“With the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic, people were very afraid about the infection and they stayed at home, while the government-sponsored lockdown in European Union and the US including other countries put a bar to go out,” Mohammed Rashed Mosharrof, General Manager (Marketing) and Head of Operations of Zaber and Zubair Fabrics told Textile Today.
“Besides, people joined offices staying at home as corporate offices allowed employees to work from home. Peoples’ movement, as well as travel, was restricted due to the Covid-19 pandemic,”
Since the users did not go out and stayed at home, they mostly used home textile products and they used outwear products on a very limited scale, Rashed said.
Since Bangladesh has quality products at affordable prices, exporters have been able to take the advantage of higher demands, he added.
“With the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic, people were very afraid about the infection and they stayed at home, while the government-sponsored lockdown in European Union and the US including other countries put a bar to go out.”
Talking to the Textile Today sector people opined that Bangladesh can earn over $1 billion from the sector but it needs policy support to grow further.
We earned $936 million the last calendar year and there is a huge opportunity to grow in the global markets. Bangladesh has a skilled workforce and expertise,” Belayet Hossain, Managing Director of R.T.T Textile Industries told Textile Today.
As of now the global market is over 90 billion but our share is very small and we can grab more shares, he added.
Also, business is shifting from China, which is offering an ample opportunity for Bangladesh, said Hossain.
However, the sector leader also called for the devaluation of Taka against the US dollar as it would help to improve competitiveness in the global markets.
“Bangladeshi currency gained against the US dollar, while our competitors are enjoying extra benefits as their currencies are devalued,” M Shahadat Hossain, Chairman of Bangladesh Terry Towel and Linen Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BTTLMEA) told Textile Today.
Right now, our exporters are facing competition in the global market due to the appreciation of Taka against USD. So, the government should provide policy support and devalued Taka by Tk5 against USD to help us to increase competitiveness in the global markets, said Hossain.