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Apparel production in the earthquake zone halved in one year

TopicalApparel production in the earthquake zone halved in one year

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One year after the February 6th earthquake that deeply shook 11 provinces of Türkiye, the figures announced for this region, where apparel production is intense, reveal that the picture is still far behind compared to the previous period. President of Turkish Clothing Manufacturers’ Association (TGSD) Ramazan Kaya commemorated those who lost their lives in the statement he made on the anniversary of the February 6th earthquake and drew attention to the changes experienced by the apparel industry in the cities affected by the earthquake. Explaining that employment in the apparel sector in the provinces in the earthquake zone decreased by 40 percent and production by 50 percent in the intervening year, Kaya noted that the capacity utilisation, which was 75 percent in 2022, dropped to 10 percent after the earthquake and could only reach 40 percent as of the last quarter of 2023. Pointing out that there is a problem of loss of qualified employment in the region and that the difficulties in accessing finance and loans make it difficult for the wheels to turn, Kaya emphasised that the loan debts of the companies in need should be structured.

Apparel sector suffered 40 percent employment loss in the earthquake zone

Commemorating those who lost their lives in the earthquake, Kaya indicated that TGSD extended its helping hand to the region from the first day of the earthquake and remarked; “We will continue our support until our citizens, whom we hosted in our 310-container living centre, which we opened in Adıyaman last April, move to permanent residences.” He stated that the region where the earthquake disaster occurred is one of the strongholds of the apparel industry and added that there is no serious change in the number of workplaces in the region. Saying; “The number of companies decreased the most in Malatya, Adıyaman and Hatay. However, while the decrease in the number of companies remained below 5 percent, employment decreased by 40 percent from 143 thousand to 90 thousand,” he added that while 19.7 percent of the total employment in the sector was in the earthquake zone, this share decreased to 14.2 percent. Announcing that Malatya and Adıyaman were the cities where employment decreased the most, he disclosed; “In addition to the losses and migration we experienced due to the earthquake, the 12.5 percent decrease in the employment of our sector across the country last year has a great effect on this decrease.”

Deprem bölgesinde hazır giyim üretimi bir yılda yarıya düştü  Görsel Kaynak:  Arsan Textile
Apparel sector suffered 40 percent employment loss in the earthquake zone Image Source: Arsan Textile

“Production fell by half, capacity was 40 percent at most”

Referring to the effect of the earthquake on apparel production and capacity, Ramazan Kaya continued as follows; “According to 2022 data, our 11 provinces affected by the earthquake met 8.9 percent of our country’s total apparel production with an annual production of 352 thousand tonnes. In 2023, the production of 11 provinces decreased by approximately 50 percent to 175 thousand tonnes and its share in total production was 4.5 percent. In this process, Türkiye’s total production decreased by 3 percent to 3.85 million tonnes. On the other hand, capacity utilisation, which was 75 percent in the region before the earthquake, decreased to 10 percent in the first quarter of 2023.  Although the capacity utilisation rate was 20 percent in the second quarter, 30 percent in the third quarter and 40 percent in the last quarter, we are still far behind compared to before the earthquake.”

“The biggest export loss is in Kahramanmaraş, Hatay and Diyarbakır”

Announcing the export figures, Ramazan Kaya stated that the Turkish apparel industry, which exported 19.2 billion dollars in 2023 with a 9.2 percent decrease compared to the previous year, experienced an 11 percent decline in the earthquake region. Accordingly, he noted that the exports of the earthquake region, which was 541 million dollars in 2022, decreased to 482 million dollars in 2023, and the provinces where exports in the region decreased the most were Kahramanmaraş, Hatay and Diyarbakır.

“There is a need for the support of financial institutions and public regulations”

Kaya pointed out that they foresee that the Turkish apparel sector will enter a recovery process as of the second half of this year after the loss it suffered in 2023, and pointed out that various supports are needed for the recovery of the producers in the earthquake region, as in all regions. Noting that, first of all, the difficulties experienced in accessing financing and loans make it difficult for the wheels to turn, he said; “Sufficient and favourable conditions cannot be provided in export credits, which is one of the most important needs of the sector. In addition, companies in need are waiting for restructuring for their existing loan debts. In summary, in order for our region to get back on its feet, the support of financial institutions and the public sector’s remedial regulations are needed. These regulations will also make a significant contribution to the solution of the qualified employment problem that has been continuing since the first periods of the earthquake.”

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