In Nigeria, textile manufacturing is a key local industry, supported by a chain of suppliers such as cotton growers and natural dye makers. However, traditional methods of dyeing fabrics are threatened by cheap imports from abroad. Nigerians have a love of naturally dyed fabrics with many prints based on traditional motifs. In northern regions, it is common for cloth to be a single color, such as indigo. Dyers use dye-pits (two or three meters deep). The cloth is left in these for a day or two, before being rinsed and left to dry. Sometimes, indigo cloth is beaten and given an extra coating of indigo powder to give a deeper shade and a glossy shine or sheen.
Nigeria’s textile industry used to be the third largest in Africa. But now the country spends about 100 billion naira annually on importing clothing materials. If half of this could be made locally, the drain of foreign exchange could be stopped. Jobs could be created. Buying home made goods can stimulate the domestic economy.
Leadership failed to sustain the manufacturing and textile industries when the country discovered oil. A return to agriculture and manufacturing could enable Nigeria come out of recession. Once industries are back, Nigeria could be not just an investment destination but also a job destination.