Cost pressures, oversupply and fierce competition are threatening the textile and garment industry the world over. The paradigm change from the simple assembling of garments to “full package” services (design, fabric sourcing, trims and logistics) requires additional skills and knowledge and therefore specialized training. Moreover, existing trade barriers are likely to be replaced by demands that producers adhere to quality and environmental norms, such as ISO9000 and eco-labeling, which cannot be easily met by manufacturers in developing countries.
UNIDO supports both conventional and informal producers of textiles and garments with advice on adequate technology, product diversification and the identification of market opportunities. Special attention is given to value addition in processing natural fibers such as silk, coir, cotton and jute. Product development in this and other areas is facilitated through the establishment of design centres. Computerized colourimetry and colour matching helps enterprises improve product quality and reduce pollution. To disseminate basic skills in poverty-stricken areas, UNIDO produces special manuals such as multimedia CD/ROMs for training sewing-machine operators.
UNIDO conducts an intensive campaign to upgrade the African textile and garment industry which is poised to benefit from the US-Africa Trade Bill (Africa Growth and Opportunity Act).