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The Towel Is Not to Be Thrown In…
Economy, Domestic Economy

The Towel Is Not to Be Thrown In…

Towels have been produced by Iran’s textile industry that is 100 years old.
Investment in the field, like all other areas, has its own challenges, but it is feasible, officials and producers of the product said, the Persian daily, Forsat-e Emrooz, reported.
“We have been producing towels in Iran for more than half a century. In the last two or three years, attention has been paid to the industry and promises have been made to support domestic production, though this fact has since been contradicted by the increase in the tariff set on cotton imports from 10% to 14%,” said Mohammad Kazem Amid, an official with the Association of Iran Textile Industries.
Amid added that the domestic production of cotton, which is the raw material for the industry, stands at 50,000 tons annually and is not sufficient to meet the demand.
“We need 100,000 tons of imports to be able to meet our needs,” he said.
According to the official, towel is produced in two different ways. One is known as the warp and weft style, which demands special machinery with which no other fabric can be knit and can produce both plain and patterned towels.
“In our country more than 10 million meters of this kind of towel is produced annually in cities such as Tabriz. The other way is by using circular knitting machinery used mostly to knit lighter towels and the ones used for babies. Overall, close to 1 million meters of this kind is produced in the country every year,” said Amid.
Iran’s dilapidated machinery is what Amid believes plagues this industry. Most of the machines are decades old and Iran’s particular situation, having been imposed by sanctions, had made it difficult to renovate the industry.
“The useful life of textile machinery is 8 to 10 years, yet the industry has seen no renovations in 15 years,” he said.
“The field can create innumerable jobs and, given the high added value of the products, can also be very lucrative. Currently, more than 10,000 production units are active and over 500,000 people earn their living in this way.”
Amid noted that although the situation has deteriorated for the industry, about $1.2 billion worth of the product were exported in the last Iranian year (ended March 19, 2016).
“If one bases the business on innovation and exports, you are more than likely to become successful in the field,” said Khalil Farshi, a producer of towels in Tabriz.
He added that recently the seemingly propitious Russian market has opened up to Iranian producers.
“Turkey is a frontrunner and we cooperate and get help from it in technological issues and this is how we stay up-to-date and can produce on par with the market demand. But there is a difference in the way factories operate in the two countries,” he said.
“In Turkey, each company takes on the responsibility for part of the process, like dyeing, sizing, packaging, etc. but in Iran a business owner has to have all the machinery in the chain, from the beginning to the end.
This makes the production process capital-intensive and there are not many people who can afford to start such a business. The solution is to break up big firms so as to encourage investments and increase job opportunities.”
Farshi is sanguine about the market’s future and insists on producing high-quality items.
He complained of the many production units scattered around the country that produce low-quality towels which roughen up after they are washed.
“They could ruin the market for other firms,” he said.
Another obstacle, according to this business owner, is the fact that all the required machinery is imported.
“If a device or part of a machine breaks down, we need to go through frustrating procedures to order it from countries such as Germany or Italy, and wait over a fortnight for it to be delivered,” he said.

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