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First of its kind silk rearing to garment production unit setup
Jan '09
UTEXRWA S.A. is a vertically integrated textile company, the only one of its kind in Rwanda. UTEXRWA started its operation in the 1985 and currently employs about 1000 people in which over 54 percent are women. It has a spinning, weaving, fabric processing and an apparel manufacturing facility in Kigali.

Currently UTEXRWA is manufacturing Cotton, Viscose and Polyester based fabrics and apparels. UTEXRWA sells 90 percent of its goods locally in Rwanda and exports about 10 percent of its production to other countries in the region.

It has recently diversified in to integrated production of silk which is the first of its' kind probably in the whole world to have under one roof. The unit incorporates, Mulberry cultivation, Silk worm rearing, Cocoon production, Silk reeling, re-reeling, twisting, yarn dyeing, warping, weaving (Handlooms and Automated Projectile looms), processing and also produces silk apparels and other products like Ties and Scarves. These products are sold under the brand name 'Silk Hills'

Fibre2fashion.com spoke to the Managing Director of UTEXRWA, Mr Raj Rajendran, who said, 'These silk products are typically 100 percent made in Rwanda and are manufactured from imported semi-automatic reeling, twisting Machines, warping and weaving machines, for which the company has invested US $1 million.”

The management of Utexrwa projects their first commercial silk products to hit the market by mid 2009 as it undergoes different stages of production. Mr Rajendran added by saying, “The first batch of exports is expected in March or April, this year. This might lead to an export value of about US$15 millions per annum in the next four to five years and after the launch; the company will focus on value addition and export markets.”

While the company plans to increase silk production, the company is concerned that the cocoons produced by farmers will not be enough, since there is a shortage of skilled labour. To bridge the shortage, UTEXRWA is training locals on mulberry cultivation and silk worm rearing with the support of the agriculture ministry.

Since import of silk worms is costly, the company has developed a hatching machine which has made local production of hatching eggs possible and which also cuts costs. The company also plans to join hands with other cooperatives to produce handlooms and other hand operated twisting machines and reeling machines in Rwanda to boost production of silk in the country.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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