Sri Lanka apparel makers increase backward integration

June 08, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s garments industry has increased sourcing of fabric from the region and making accessories at home under its backward integration plan to strengthen its base, an industry official said. In 2003 the industry imported 194 million dollars worth of accessories and trims but this fell to 181 million dollars in 2006 despite exports going up because of local production and value addition. More fabric mills are also being set up in the island and existing ones expanded to support the apparel exporters and shorten lead times, A. Sukumaran, chief executive of Star Garments Group said.

The industry is trying to increase its backward integration as well as manufacture of non-textile accessories and trims to ensure it can sustain itself in the quota free era, he told the Sri Lanka Economic Summit organised by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.

“Exports in the first quarter of this year are up 14 percent compared with same quarter the year before, which is a very good sign,” Sukumaran said.

Last year Sri Lanka’s exports to the United States fell, though the EU market was healthy.

Garments are a key source of foreign exchange and employment generation for the island.

The indus