Tanzania produces raw cotton and textiles. Cotton is the fifth largest agricultural export commodity contributing 3% of total exports in 2000 after coffee(15%), raw cashewnut (9%), tobacco (7%) and tea (6%). However, the textile industry that was vibrant in the 1970's has lagged behind after market liberalization. This situation forced the government to sell ginneries and textile industries that were previously under public ownership and management in order to revamp the sector. As a result, Urafiki, Ubungo, Mwanza and Musoma textiles industries are all under new ownership. Production of textile was 74,000 sq. metres in 2000 compared with 50,000 sq.m. in 1999; an increase of 48%.
Private textile industries such as Sunflag and A-T Textiles (located in Arusha) as well as KTM of Dar es Salaam have been operating efficiently and currently are the largest contributor to the growth of the textile sector. Two of the companies have since been able to take advantage of the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) and have started shipping textile products to USA this year.
The opportunities available in the textile sector are related to the AGOA and the capitalization process that will be undertaken by the private owners. The latter is envisaged to result to demand for linkage to suppliers of technology.