At African Sourcing & Fashion Week 2022, GESAMTMASCHE and ETGAMA presented the first pilot supply chains of their cooperation project funded by the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) . The yarns, fabrics and knitwear presented at the fair attracted numerous visitors to the partner Africa Ethiopia booth.
Transparency and quality
Building transparent supply chains for cotton textiles while improving quality is one of Partner Africa Ethiopia’s core objectives. The prerequisites for this seem to be in place in Ethiopia: In addition to its own cotton cultivation, there is a fully integrated textile chain consisting mainly of owner-managed companies. But the project encountered major challenges. The cotton quality left much to be desired, and in the project years 2020 and 2021, the corona pandemic made cooperation with local partners extremely difficult, further aggravated to the conflict in the country during this period.
Good cotton as a prerequisite
The project therefore started at the very beginning of the chain and initially focused on improving the cultivation and harvesting of cotton with farmer training in various regions of the country. At the same time, technical staff in the cotton processing plants were trained. Finally, the first companies were won over through the ETGAMA association to participate in pilot supply chains.
Title picture: Ethiopian and Senegalese cotton and textile industry representatives discussing at a Pan-African workshop on the occasion of ASFW in Addis Ababa in November 2022. Image: GESAMTMASCHE.
As a qualitative benchmark, cotton from Senegal was used for the first pilot yarns and fabrics. Senegalese cotton is of good quality. GIZ in Dakar has been supporting the sector in its conversion to organic farming for some time now. Compared to Ethiopian cotton, the fiber from Senegal contains fewer impurities on average. This opens up completely new possibilities for yarn production in Ethiopia. At the same time, the project literally brought actors from Senegal and Ethiopia to the table. The pan-African networking was sealed in a joint workshop at the ASFW, where representatives of the cotton chain of both countries discussed deepening their cooperation.
Organic cotton needs expansion
While other African countries have been dealing with the issue of certified cotton for some time, the topic still plays a subordinate role in Ethiopia. Partner Africa Ethiopia first had to address fundamental questions of quality and cultivation know-how. GESAMTMASCHE and ETGAMA are therefore committed to a follow-up project so that we can build on what has been achieved and tackle organic farming on a broader basis. The interest of Ethiopian farmers is great. At the same time, the demand of European manufacturers for cotton with demanding certification is growing.
At the leading trade fair ASFW, more than 200 exhibitors from a total of 29 countries presented textiles, clothing, ingredients and machinery. With over 4,000 visitors from 46 countries, the fair has returned to its former strength after the pandemic-related slumps. In fact, the new trade fair location in the modern halls of the Skylight Hotel is ideally suited for the mixture of classic trade fair events, specialist conferences and workshops.