Economy

Mitumba imports drop 76pc on ban

mitumba

Kenya's “mitumba” industry has grown exponentially in the past few years. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) data shows 12,081 tonnes of mitumba were imported in the April-June period, a sharp drop of 76.06 percent compared with 50,486 tonnes in a similar period a year earlier.
  • Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) imposed the importation ban late March in a bid to contain spread of the coronavirus infections, with the order affecting fresh orders only.

Kenyan traders shipped Sh1.22 billion second-hand clothing in the second quarter of the year when a temporary ban on the merchandise was in place, indicating the orders had already been processed.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) data shows 12,081 tonnes of mitumba were imported in the April-June period, a sharp drop of 76.06 percent compared with 50,486 tonnes in a similar period a year earlier.

Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) imposed the importation ban late March in a bid to contain spread of the coronavirus infections, with the order affecting fresh orders only.

This was in line with one of the agency’s standards that prohibits buying second-hand clothes from countries experiencing epidemics to ensure disease-causing micro-organisms are not imported into Kenya.

The value of mitumba imported into the country in the review period, however, represented a steep 74.5 percent fall compared with Sh4.8 billion in corresponding period in 2019.

Kebs lifted the ban mid-August after months of agitation by traders subject to a raft of safety protocols and guidelines including fumigation of the merchandise in the country of origin.

Superior quality and relatively lower prices for second-hand clothes and footwear has continued to drive demand for the merchandise at the expense of locally-made clothes, fetching traders who largely operate in informal markets higher margins.