The garment industry of Bangladesh stands as a beacon of success within the nation’s economy, uniquely weaving a story of resilience, growth, and global impact. This once-struggling sector has spectacularly transformed into the second-largest ready-made garment exporter in the world.
As we pull back the fabric to expose the inner workings of this industry, we’ll delve into its humble beginnings, the challenges it has overcome, and the pivotal role it plays in Bangladesh’s economy today. Join us as we embark on a journey through the remarkable narrative of the garment industry of Bangladesh.
About: Garments Industry of Bangladesh
The garments industry of Bangladesh has played a pivotal role in the development and growth of the country since its inception in the 1980s. Initially, the industry faced numerous challenges, including a lack of resources, infrastructure, skilled labor, and favorable government policies.
However, despite these challenges, the industry persevered and became the single biggest export earner for the country, accounting for 83% of total export earnings, surpassing even the once-thriving jute industry.
The vision of the late Nurool Quader Khan was instrumental in establishing the ready-made garment industry in Bangladesh. Under his leadership, the first garment factory, Desh Garments, was set up, which paved the way for other entrepreneurs to follow suit and establish their own factories. This led to the gradual development and maturity of the industry, which has now become a prestigious brand across the globe, with the “Made in Bangladesh” tag evoking a sense of quality and trustworthiness.
One of the key factors that contributed to the success of the garments industry in Bangladesh was the abolition of child labor in 1995. This landmark achievement helped the industry gain credibility and improve its reputation globally. Additionally, the Multi-Fiber Arrangement (MFA) quota system proved to be a blessing for the industry, enabling it to take root and mature gradually.
Despite facing numerous challenges and setbacks over the years, including the end of the MFA quota system, the garments industry of Bangladesh has persevered and emerged stronger than ever. In fact, the post-MFA era has been another story of success, with the industry conquering the challenges and continuing to show robust performance.
The garments industry of Bangladesh has not only contributed significantly to the economy, but it has also brought about remarkable social and human development. The industry provides employment opportunities to millions of people, mostly women, who would otherwise be deprived of such opportunities. This has led to a significant improvement in the people’s standard of living and has helped empower women, particularly in rural areas.
Moreover, the industry has also played a crucial role in the development of infrastructure, including roads, highways, and ports, which has positively impacted the country’s overall development. The industry has also brought about significant changes in the urban landscape, with the establishment of several modern factories and an overall improvement in the standard of living.
Success Story of the Garment Industry of Bangladesh
The garment industry has been a success story for Bangladesh, playing a vital role in changing the socioeconomic condition of the country. With over 4 million people directly or indirectly dependent on it, any imbalance in this sector would negatively impact the economy.
Bangladesh is now the second largest garment exporter in the world, with ready-made garment exports valued at approximately 27.95 billion U.S. dollars in 2020, despite the negative impact of Covid-19. However, this sector has had significant challenges, notably the Rana Plaza and Tazrin Fashion disasters, which have affected its reputation and caused internationally reputed industries to cut deals with Bangladesh.
Despite these challenges, the garment industry of Bangladesh has made significant strides, and it is important to showcase these success stories to others to retain its reputation. The media can play a vital role in reforming the sector and projecting its successes.
The BGMEA, as the industry’s representative body, can also facilitate efforts to communicate these successes to other stakeholders, such as arranging events where the dedication and achievements of those in the industry can be showcased to foreign commerce.
There have also been ongoing efforts to improve labor standards in this sector, which can go a long way in positively impacting the industry’s outlook. Developing a positive labor relationship with trade unions would benefit the sector immensely, as would building textile-friendly manufacturing plants. It is encouraging to see that many entrepreneurs in Bangladesh are pursuing this approach, which should be highlighted.
Brand perception plays a significant role in high-end apparel items of the value chain, and therefore, branding Bangladesh is an important part of the strategy going forward. The government should be more concerned about supporting this sector and making efforts to regain its lost reputation. A reliable and trustworthy information exchange system between the media and BGMEA would go a long way in achieving this goal.
Check out the below video content on how Bangladesh became textile superpower.
9 Reasons Why the Garment Industry of Bangladesh Is Successful
The garment industry of Bangladesh has seen remarkable growth over the past decade and has emerged as a leading industry in the country. Despite various challenges and setbacks, the industry has performed exceptionally well, contributing significantly to the country’s economic growth. Here are nine reasons why the garment industry of Bangladesh is successful:
#1. Skilled Labor Force
Bangladesh’s garment industry has a highly skilled and experienced labor force. The country focuses on its education system, where technical and vocational skills are a primary focus.
The technical education board has also introduced new training courses on garment manufacturing, dyeing, and printing. As a result, garment factories in Bangladesh have a highly skilled workforce that is renowned for producing high-quality garments.
#2. Low Labor Cost
Bangladesh is situated in the Asian region, where labor cost tends to be low. The minimum wage for garment workers in Bangladesh is currently around $95 per month. This low labor cost attracts numerous international brands to source for garments, as this helps to keep production costs low.
Also, the labor force in Bangladesh is highly productive compared to other countries. For instance, a garment worker in Bangladesh can produce around 2,000 pieces of garments per month, which is higher than the average global standard.
#3. Robust Supply Chain
Bangladesh has an extensive and robust supply chain, which ensures a smooth flow of goods and services in the textile industry. The country has nearly 4,000 garment factories with an infrastructure network that includes ports, shipping, and freight facilities.
The robust supply chain makes Bangladesh an attractive destination for manufacturers who seek significant cost reductions, efficient production, and on-time delivery. For example, Bangladesh has the largest knitwear factory in the world. The suppliers are also experienced and reliable, providing local raw materials to factories at competitive prices.
#4. Government Support
The Bangladesh government has provided a supportive environment for the growing garment industry. The authorities invested significantly in road, rail, sea, and air connections to improve national connectivity.
The government also provides tax incentives to investors, which help to reduce production costs. Moreover, the government offers generous relief during natural disasters, which is a major concern in Bangladesh.
#5. Strong International Relationships
Bangladesh has a strong relationship with international organizations and global brands, which helps to improve the image of the country’s garment industry. Many international brands support the Bangladeshi garment industry in terms of capital investments, marketing, and technical assistance.
For example, the European Union has provided financial assistance to help improve working conditions in Bangladesh’s garment industry. This strong international relationship helps to strengthen the country’s textile sector.
#6. Compliance with International Standards
The garment industry in Bangladesh is committed to maintaining international standards of quality and labor practices. For instance, the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, formed after the 2013 Rana Plaza disaster, has helped improve factory structural safety. As such, several international brands have resumed their businesses in the country.
Also, the government has established a national minimum wage for garment workers, which is in line with international standards. This helps to ensure fair wages and working conditions in the country’s textile sector.
#7. Innovation and Adaptability
The garment industry of Bangladesh has excelled in innovation and adapting to changing market trends. The industry has adopted digital design, manufacturing, and distribution technologies to stay ahead of the competition. Additionally, Bangladesh is leveraging automation technologies to improve efficiency in the textile industry.
For instance, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has developed an automated system for monitoring apparel orders. This helps to ensure accuracy in product delivery and efficient customer service. Furthermore, the association is utilizing AI-driven technologies to streamline the production process.
#8. Growth of the Middle Class
The growth of the middle class in Bangladesh has significantly increased local demand for higher quality, fashion-conscious garments. This has created a vast domestic market for the country’s garment industry. The increasing middle class also contributes to the national economy through its purchasing power.
Furthermore, retailers in Bangladesh are embracing e-commerce to tap into the growing middle class. This helps local garment manufacturers and exporters reach a larger customer base both locally and abroad. As such, the industry is seeing an increase in exports due to higher demand from international markets.
#9. Positive Branding
Finally, the positive branding of Bangladesh’s garment industry has contributed to its success. The industry has moved beyond the negative public perception it suffered after the 2013 disaster. The government and the industry players have made concerted efforts to project Bangladesh’s garment industry as a reliable, safe, and responsible sector. This branding draws multiple international brands back to Bangladesh and increases the country’s exports.
The Bangladesh garment industry has come a long way since 2013. It is now an established player in the global market, with some of the world’s largest garment brands relying on it for their production needs. With continuous improvements and investments in technology, it looks to remain an important part of the global supply chain for years to come.
The Bangladesh garment industry has experienced tremendous growth in the past decade, propelled by government policies and investments that have transformed the sector. It is now an important contributor to the national economy and continues to grow in exports internationally.
The industry’s success is also due to its commitment to responsible business practices, improved working conditions, and strong positive branding. These factors have all helped Bangladesh’s garment sector remain competitive in the global market and have positioned it for continued success.
With its improved infrastructure, low labor costs, and commitment to sustainable production practices, Bangladesh is an attractive option for many international brands looking to produce clothing affordably and responsibly. There are still areas of improvement, such as fighting counterfeiting and improving product quality standards, but the garment industry in Bangladesh is on track to remain a major player in the global apparel market.
This will pave the way for increased economic prosperity and job creation in Bangladesh, providing more opportunities for people nationwide. As more international brands recognize the value of sourcing from Bangladesh, it’s clear that the future of this nation’s garment sector is very bright.