Keraniganj has become the hub for readymade apparels produced by small factories that cater to the domestic market for both adults and children's wear. With some 8,000 small factories churning out products ranging from children's clothing to T-shirts and jeans, they service the lower and middle income groups of Bangladesh. Indeed, from what has been published in this paper, sales touch Tk1,000crore during the month of Ramadan.
What is interesting to note here is that denim (jeans) constitute 50 per cent of total output and quality is up to the mark. With a pair of jeans retailing at wholesale level ranging between Tk50 and Tk100 below that of other wholesale markets in the country, Keraniganj has been propelled in to a different playing field. With retail pricing ranging at around Tk300 for mediocre quality and pricing going anywhere up to Tk2,000 for superior finish, we are seeing the emergence of a parallel RMG sector that caters purely for domestic consumers.
Needless to say, the Keraniganj model can and probably will be replicated successfully in other parts of the country. Yet, domestic apparel producers are not bereft of problems beyond their control. Infrastructure inadequacies like power outages hamper production; poor condition of roads and the haphazard manner in which factories have grown are some of the issues that need to be dealt with to avoid incidences of fire and even building collapse. The sector needs recognition and access to banking credit to realise its full potential. These are areas where the government must step in to help facilitate growth of this sub-sector.