As the world grapples with the dwindling supply of Covid-19 preventive gears, Kitui County Textile Centre (KICOTEC) is plugging in the gap producing 30, 000 face masks daily.
KICOTEC is also making Personal Preventive Equipment (PPE) as the country stares at empty shelves and those who need them most feel the effects.
The factory is among local companies identified by the government to ease the shortage of preventive gears in the country.
These local companies have started making face masks and other preventive gears as the government heightens measures to fight the rising number of Covid-19 infections.
Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu said this move stamps the country's manufacturing sector as a crucial component in spurring the fledgling economy against the ravages of Covid-19.
Fear and panic are causing members of the public to purchase and stockpile masks and other PPE supplies and people are paying dearly for them.
The PPE is used daily by healthcare personnel to protect themselves, patients and others when providing care, and by depleting supplies, those in the front line will be at risk and could contribute to the spread of coronavirus.
The humble beginnings of the textile centre started off as a simple embroidery outfit stitching uniforms before inking a lucrative deal in 2019 to tailor over 6, 000 uniforms for chiefs and their assistants countrywide.
Ngilu thanked President Uhuru Kenyatta for making it possible for the county to tailor the government uniforms adding that the move was in tandem with the Big Four Agenda and her vision on wealth creation.
“We have employed over 350 young people. We will continue to offer capacity building through skill improvement amongst the youth to enable them create job opportunities not only for themselves but open avenues for others,” said Governor Ngilu.
She said that the county was no longer relying on consumerism but is now turning tables with regard to the county’s fortunes through the construction of similar textile outfits in Mutomo and Mwingi.
“Can anything good come from Kitui? We have the capacity to create our local export processing zones in the county to ensure the manufacturing pillar in the Big Four Agenda is fully realized,” she added.
“KICOTEC is now offering a paradigm shift for the country’s textile industry by ensuring a ready market for cotton framers locally and beyond. The re-opening of RIVATEX will address the gap of material shortage locally rather than importing,” she said.
Similarly, the outbreak of coronavirus has opened opportunities for KICOTEC to play in the league of big boys who have been manufacturing PPE and masks for export worldwide.
The big industry players could not meet the global demand for face masks and preventive gear to combat the threat posed by Covid-19 pandemic.
Local outfits are plugging in the gap and becoming innovative as PPE shortages in the country pose tremendous challenges to the weak healthcare system in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic.
Kitui County Commissioner John Ondego said that the county’s vision on wealth creation was clearly aligned with the Big Four Agenda touching on manufacturing.
“This textile factory is an enabler in Kitui to create wealth and address unemployment among the youth, women and people living with disabilities,” said Ondego.
The County Commissioner said that skill empowerment among the youth is a milestone on creation of employment opportunities, “This move will help the county emerge victoriously out of the shackles of poverty,” he said.