New prospects for Readymade Garments Industry
The readymade garments industry is one of the key sectors of Pakistani textiles. It has the potential to use a high percentage of indigenous raw material and convert cotton fabrics to apparel which earns valuable foreign exchange for the country and creates a substantial number of jobs.
The readymade garments industry falls under the composite (made-up) segment of the textile industry. Composite, also known as valueadded segment, is made up of integrated units providing complete finishing facilities that include spinning, weaving, processing, bleaching, dyeing and finishing and stitching.
The readymade garments industry as an organized sector Pakistan started in the 1970s and with the growth of the textile sector, the industry has expanded rapidly. The majority of the units making cotton garments are medium and small-sized in terms of machines, workers and output, with a few notable exceptions and are scattered throughout Pakistan.
Besides meeting increasing domestic requirements, the industry is producing large volumes for export and is turning out a wide range of quality for men, women and children, such as shirts, blouses, gowns, skirts, night dresses, track suits, trousers, children’s wear, etc. These garments are made from cotton and synthetic fabrics..
Other fashion fabrics are silk, linen and artificial materials, which are generally blended with cotton. Much of the success of any design depends on the skillful handling of such elements as line, shape, colour and texture.
The market for woven garments has also grown rapidly in recent years and now accounts for almost 10 percent of Pakistan’s total export earnings. North America and the EU are the major markets supplied by Pakistan and account for over 60 percent of Pakistani garment exports.
Components of Readymade Garment Industry Raw Materials
Pakistan’s readymade garment industry uses both local and imported raw-materials. The production of cotton and cotton blended cloth, which are largely used by the garment industry, is quite sufficient and also leaves a surplus for exports.
Besides the mill sector, the non-mill sector also produces cotton cloth which is widely used by the garment industry. The non-mill sector is scattered and unorganized. The power loom sector produces pure cotton, polyester, viscose and blended fabrics, which usually fetch low prices in the market. These are either imported or manufactured by the local unorganized sector.
Pakistan produces apparel of various patterns and styles in line with the latest fashions and quality. Leading Pakistani designers, garment manufacturers and exporters regularly display their designs and products round the world at international fairs and exhibitions and at trade centres uch as Paris, London, New York, Tokyo and Berlin.
The readymade garment industry is based on small, medium and large scale units, most of them comprising 50 machines or less. With the growth of the industry, large units are coming up in the organized sector. According to an estimate, currently about 75 percent of its units are in the unorganized sector and are established in small shops, flats and houses. These units still do not have modern equipment for over locking, creasing, collar pressing, buttoning and cutting, etc. They mostly have 4 to ten sewing machines and one or two electric irons.
Over the past years, larger garment producing units have invested more than $3.2 billion n the value-added sector on sewing machines, stitching, knitting, finishing and knitting processing. Pakistan has imported a large numbers of sewing machines from China, Japan and Singapore. These imports decreased from 175,158 units valued at Rs. 2.05 billion in 2006-07 to 44,582 units valued at Rs. 0.85 billion, showing a decline of 58 percent in terms of value. At present, the
Export of readymade garments from Pakistan decreased from 42 million dozens worth US $1.59 billion in 2007-08 to 27 million dozens worth US $1.27 billion in 2009-10, which represented a decline of 20 percent in terms of value. Pakistan has been a major Asian player in the garment export market, especially during 1990s and early 2000. Total apparel exports from Pakistan amounted to US $1.59 billion in 2007-08. At present, the major thrust of garments exports from Pakistan is towards the US market, while the European Union is the second largest market. Major markets that Pakistani manufacturers have so for not been able to explore are Japan, the UAE some new markets in Europe. These markets require high product standards and in return offer higher prices.
Pakistan’s textile exports increased by 20 percent in seven months from the start of FY 2010. Major product areas that helped these exports grow included knitwear, bedwear, towels and readymade garments. Cotton prices around the globe have increased phenomenally in the July-june 2010 period, making finished products expensive than last year. Pakistan has also diversified its product range and marketing approach over the last few years