In February 2016, International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the Trade Facilitation Office Canada (TFO Canada) launched a call for proposals on market entry studies pertaining to “Promoting Specialty Textile and Fabrics in Least Developed Countries (LDCs).” The small research grants aim at analyzing ways to promote exports to Canada as a new target market for LDC producers.
From almost 30 submissions, IDRC and TFO officers have jointly selected grantees from five LDCs:
Bangladesh: Dr Rafat Alam, economics professor at MacEwan University, Edmonton, will work with local businesses to focus on Jamdani, a textile that has been recognised by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity.
Cambodia: Prasith Suon from the Ministry of Commerce will lead a small team focusing on silk products.
Uganda: Maria Josephine Nagawa, a professor at Makerere University Business School and a research associate at the Economic Policy Research Centre, will focus on Bark Cloth, a unique product from Uganda.
Lesotho: Tirelo Modise Moepswa of Botswana is a PhD candidate at Japan’s Doshisha University. He will mobilize a small group to study the potential of Lesotho’s local hand-woven cloth.
Ethiopia: Tsegaye Ginbo, research officer with the Ethiopian Development Research Institute (part of the Think Tank Initiative), and Wondwossen Shiferaw Woldemichael, senior marketing expert from the Ethiopian Textile Industry Development Institute, will study traditional hand-woven cotton products.
The studies will feed into a larger program that supports small producers to gain fair access to Canadian markets.