Navigating Challenges and Opportunities: The Evolving Landscape of Bangladesh’s Garment Accessories Industry

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Over the past two decades, the backward linkage of the Garments Industry in Bangladesh has been steadily increasing its capabilities, marking a phenomenal transformation in the country’s textile landscape. This shift is particularly evident in the realm of garment accessories, which now account for over ninety percent of the local demand. Notably, Bangladesh has progressed to a point where it not only fulfills its domestic requirements but also exports certain accessory goods to countries actively engaged in the global garments export and business sectors.

Figure: Muhammad Mahbubul Alam (Mahbub), Director, Dody Group

This noteworthy development underscores the growing self-sufficiency of Bangladesh’s Garments Industry, as it significantly reduces dependence on external sources for essential accessories. The robust growth of the backward linkage has played a pivotal role in fortifying the overall strength and resilience of the country’s textile sector.

As Bangladesh continues to assert its presence in the global garment market, the export of garment accessories adds a new dimension to its economic contribution. By supplying these accessories to other nations deeply entrenched in the garments trade, Bangladesh not only strengthens its economic foothold but also establishes itself as a reliable and competitive player in the international textile arena.

This positive trend in the production and export of garment accessories not only speaks to the industry’s evolution but also reflects the proactive measures taken by Bangladesh to diversify and expand its economic horizons. As the garment industry becomes increasingly sophisticated and interconnected, the nation’s role in the global textile supply chain continues to evolve, presenting new opportunities for growth and collaboration.

This overview highlights the significant strides taken by Bangladesh in enhancing its backward linkage capabilities and underscores the pivotal role played by garment accessories in shaping the trajectory of the country’s textile industry.

However, the commendable progress made in the backward linkage of the Garments Industry in Bangladesh has not shielded manufacturers from the recent challenges posed by the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukraine-Russia war. The industry now grapples with an order crisis, as global disruptions have significantly impacted demand.

Manufacturers are experiencing difficulties in sourcing production materials and machine tools, often necessitating imports from countries like China and Europe. This dependency, though, is not without its challenges. The recent dollar crisis and the surge in material prices have exerted direct and adverse effects on the sector. Consequently, some manufacturing units have already been forced to shut down, while others find themselves in a precarious survival stage.

This downturn serves as a stark reminder of the vulnerability of the garment industry to external shocks. The interconnected global supply chain, once a source of strength, now poses challenges as disruptions in one part of the world can have cascading effects on manufacturing activities in Bangladesh. The industry is navigating through these challenging times, requiring adaptive strategies to cope with the evolving economic landscape.

Despite these setbacks, the resilience and innovation within the sector are evident as surviving units explore alternative avenues and seek strategic partnerships to weather the current storm. The adaptability of the Garments Industry in Bangladesh is being put to the test, and it remains to be seen how the sector will rebound and reshape itself in the face of these unforeseen challenges.

The manufacturers of accessories and other related items find themselves intricately tied to the fortunes of garment orders. The ongoing order crisis in garment factories has a direct and cascading effect on the backward linkage, which relies on these orders to sustain their operations. The symbiotic relationship between garment and accessory manufacturers underscores the challenges faced by both sectors in tandem.

If local accessory manufacturing units are forced to close their production facilities due to the prevailing crisis, a critical dependence on foreign sources for accessories will emerge. This scenario not only disrupts the seamless integration of the local supply chain but also carries the potential to escalate prices. The increased cost associated with importing accessories from abroad would inevitably be transferred to the final garment prices, impacting consumers and stakeholders alike.

In this challenging landscape, international customers play a pivotal role in mitigating the crisis. By acknowledging the intricacies of the situation and being open to adjusting the logical pricing of garments, they can contribute significantly to stabilizing the industry. A strategic collaboration between garment manufacturers and international buyers is crucial to finding a balanced solution that takes into account the challenges faced by the entire supply chain.

This collaborative approach may involve exploring alternative sourcing strategies, negotiating terms that consider the current economic climate, and collectively addressing the hurdles faced by the industry. By fostering a cooperative and supportive relationship, the international customer base can act as a stabilizing force, helping the Garments Industry in Bangladesh navigate through these challenging times and emerge stronger on the other side.

Muhammad Mahbubul Alam (Mahbub)

Director, DODY Group

01683520317

[email protected]