The Trade Related Facility (TRF)-Funded Cotton and Textile Value Chain project in Mozambique has opened up a lot of opportunities for citizens as well as foreign investors as the sector has vast potential for growth and development.
Essentially, this project has opened a window to a possible prosperous future for the Mozambique population living in the cotton producing areas. The introduction of small manual looms has turned many lives into positive players in the economy and the increasing household income is of great importance for human capital development as these small producers are now able to send children to school and training in various skills which are essential for Mozambique’s development.
The public-private partnerships realised thus far indicate that there will be more coming on stream in the coming years as the current partnership shows growth and increases productivity. Further, the ability to also attract cooperating partners such as Holland Development Organisation (SNV) is an indication of the confidence that has been built by the project to date. The signing of cooperation agreements or Memoranda of Understanding with countries like India and Indonesia also ensures continued access to training and capacity building initiatives in the sector.
Mozambique produces a lot of cotton, mainly by small-scale farmers. However, most of the cotton is exported in its raw form without any beneficiation or value addition. The key ambition of the EU-SADC TRF intervention was to promote participation of small-scale cotton and textile enterprises in the cotton and textile value chain and to reduce the import bill for cotton and textile products in to Mozambican market. The project was also aimed at raising the level of income for cotton producing farmers through equipping them with simple tools to add value to their cotton.
However, the Small-Scale Cotton and Textiles enterprises lacked capacity to participate in the cotton and textiles value chain both in terms of human capacity and tools or equipment that could easily be used to add value to cotton. The cotton and textile industry was exporting raw or semi-processed product without much value addition, hence the returns were not as high as would be the case when exporting processed products.
There was also no Computerized Central Data Base for Cotton Fibre Analysis Laboratory and Bar Code Labelling Systems which made it difficult to align with other countries on cotton products.
The TRF resources therefore came as an important starting point to support and promote many small-scale farmers and producers to participate in the cotton value chain. The Mozambique Cotton and Oilseed Institute has been pivotal in providing possible solutions to the challenges faced by the country of exporting raw cotton and them import processed cotton for hospitals and other industries. The key solutions adopted include the following:
Provision of Equipment to the Small Scale Textiles Initiative
One of the key issues that the Mozambique Cotton and Oilseeds Institute decided to work on was an initiative aimed at the provision of equipment to a Small-Scale Textiles Promotion Centre through the acquisition of manual tools for cotton processing from Ethiopia. These tools would empower small producers, particularly women, to process cotton and generate an income.
The initiative was aimed at contributing towards processing new local cotton products and by-products, thus contributing towards the filling of gaps in the cotton value chain. Further, the initiative would also, serve as a model for encouraging and sensitising big cotton companies to host or replicate the initiative in their areas of operation.
As a result, the Namialo Centre for Cotton Small-Scale Promotion (CEPAAN) was established and equipped with five tool-kits for artisanal textiles capable of producing 1,000 metres of yarn per member and 60 metres of textile (12m/machine). Additionally, a vehicle was provided to CEPAAN in order to facilitate the Centre’s logistics.
At CEPAAN, trainees were trained in artisanal spinning and weaving techniques, 30 associated producers from the family sector (17 women and 13 men) associated with the National Cotton Producers Forum (FONPA).
The main CEPAAN products are textiles for several uses such as scarfs and tablecloths. Until then, 160 metres of textile had been produced, corresponding to 100 scarfs as part of the learning and improvement process. The products are being exhibited at national fairs where appropriate. The most recent exhibition took place at the launch of the cotton-seed marketing campaign in Monapo, in July 2020 (Fig. 2). More attractive markets are being identified for exhibition and sale of the products, as well as the establishment of economic partnership agreements with textile producing countries.
The development of a Computerised Central Data Base for Cotton Fibre Analysis Laboratory Results and Bar Code Labelling Systems was a critical component of the Cotton and Textile value chain development system.
(i) The quality of the yarn is improving and, consequently, the quality of the textile produced is also increasing, enabling it to reach a sustainable trade value, in accordance with market requirements.
(ii) Continued efforts to identify mechanisms to ensure CEPAAN self-sustainability. Partnerships have already been established with Primavera Partner Developer and Hotel Cardoso for easiness of the commercialisation process of the textiles in quantity and quality previously agreed. It is expected that 5,000 metres of textiles for trade will be produced before the end of this year, while the market is consolidated;
(iii) Continuation of a programme for the establishment of initiative replicas in all cotton producing areas;
(iv) Continuously add value to cotton seed production;
(v) Increase producers’ incomes; and
(vi) Computerised Central Data Base for Cotton Fibre Analysis Laboratory Results and Bar Code Labelling Systems.
Replication of the Artisanal Textiles Initiative
The key lesson learnt relate to the capability to replicate such cotton artisanal textiles initiative in the cotton producing areas. The first such effort took place in the Niassa Province (Cuamba) in partnership with a private company called JFSSAN, where 30 associate members benefited from training mainly for young women in cotton fibre spinning and weaving (See fig 3 pictures).
The first weaving prototype was produced at national level with daily production capacity of 12 metres of cotton fibre textile. During the experimental phase, 50 metres of textile were produced, corresponding to 12 pieces, and it is expected that two additional weaving machines will be produced until December 2020 in order to increase production.
The focus of the initiative is the experience of Portugal that already has the use of artisanal textiles as a consolidated culture due to the advantage it has for human health and domestic economy, considering that a 50cm scarf can be sold for €35.
Another replication of this initiative is anticipated in Montepuez District in Cabo Delgado Province in partnership with SNV. In order to operationalise this initiative, a draft specific project proposal and a Memorandum of Understanding have been prepared, and are waiting for the project approval and subsequent signature. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the process has been interrupted.