Knitwear on way to get a boost

Kazi Azizul Islam

Bangladesh knitwear industry is on the way to get uplift from cotton-based produces to genuine woolen items as a leading organisation from Australia has established business relations with some leading local knitters.
   The business relations will facilitate Bangladeshi knitters to produce woolen sweaters those will yield more business, extra profit and help increase manufacturers’ image abroad.
   The organisation, Australian Wool Innovation, has recently grouped up with some Bangladeshi manufacturers to source Marino wool products from Bangladesh, said officials of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
   The officials said Bangladeshi knitwear exporters, who used to produce cotton-wear, would now be producing woolen-wear for exporting those to global market.
   He said, some of the exporters had already started producing sample items for global marketing.
   Originated in Australia and New Zealand, Merino wool is regarded finest and softest and economically viable variety of wool.
   The AWI last week launched a programme titled ‘Out of Bangladesh’ to inform global importers that some Woolmark-accredited Bangladeshi knitters have proven performance in making fine-gauge Merino wool knitwear.
   Woolmark is the globally recognised Australian accreditation that specifies pure new wool through a stringent testing for quality and performance of the finished garment.
   After China and Turkey, Bangladesh has world’s third largest knitwear industry, but it so far concentrates on bulk quantity of cotton-based low-cost sweaters.
   In 2008 sweater exports amounted at $1.8 billion, which was 15 per cent of Bangladesh’s entire apparel export earning.
   A very few local sweater manufacturers are trying to produce high value cashmere sweaters by sourcing died wool yarns from Mongolia or India, the officials said.
   The BGMEA officials said AWI already provided technical supports to their Bangladesh partners to produce sweaters with wool yarn.
   ‘Such tie-up will not only create market in Bangladesh for Australian wool yarn, also uplift Bangladesh’s sweater and knitwear industry,’ said Saifur Rahman, former chairman of the textile engineering department of the City University, a private university in the capital city.
   Ghulam Faruq, chairman of SQ Group, one of the Woolmark licensed manufacturers, says, now importers pay between $60 and $72 for a dozen of cotton sweaters while export price for woolen sweaters ranges between $180 and $480.
   ‘High value cashmere and medium value Marino wool sweaters have tens of billion dollar worth market globally so Bangladesh should eye that market segment,’ said Faruq.
   He added that machines generally used now by the Bangladeshi sweater manufacturers were compatible to Australian wool yarn so the industry could go for producing wool-based sweater easily.

Source: The Daily New Age, 26 June 2009


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