Covid-19: Why Gujarat PPE makers are cutting down output by 50%

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Published: June 25, 2020 5:30 AM

Shah further said there was a ready market of PPE kits and masks in over 40 countries across the globe, and if the government allowed export of the kits, excess stock would be disposed of in a very short period.

Besides Gujarat, PPE kits are produced in at least 10 other states where the garment industry has flourished.Besides Gujarat, PPE kits are produced in at least 10 other states where the garment industry has flourished. (Representative image)

The Gujarat-based manufacturers of Covid-19 personal protective equipment (PPE) kits are forced to downsize production by almost 50% due to oversupply.

The pandemic outbreak has prompted a plethora of garment manufacturers to start making PPE kits in the state, to the extent of causing an oversupply in the domestic market, said Vijay Purohit, president of Gujarat Garment Manufacturers Association (GGMA).

As the Government of India has imposed a ban on export of PPE kits, manufacturers are not able to dispense with excess stocks, said Purohit, adding there was a huge demand of PPE kits in African and Middle Eastern nations. “If the government would allow to export PPE kits, not only the Gujarat-based manufacturers but those from across the country will be benefitted,” he added.

Besides Gujarat, PPE kits are produced in at least 10 other states where the garment industry has flourished. During the lockdown, many garment makers have invested in the PPE kit-making machinery. They are now hit by a double whammy — nil demand of readymade garments and piling up of stocks of unsold PPE kits in warehouses.

In Gujarat alone, there are more than 200 PPE kit manufacturers, said Arpan Shah, treasurer of GGMA, adding that recently reusable PPE kits have been launched in the market. As result, ‘use and throw’ kits are facing severe business setbacks.

Shah further said there was a ready market of PPE kits and masks in over 40 countries across the globe, and if the government allowed export of the kits, excess stock would be disposed of in a very short period.

With decreasing demand, prices of PPE kits have also started falling. During March-April, kits were not available below Rs 1000, but now it has nosedived to Rs 400 to Rs 600.

Initially, the demand for PPE kits used to come from the medical segment only, but after the ‘un-lockdown’, demand has increased from other segments like barbers, beauty parlours and even from the travel industry. However, the number of manufacturers has also increased, which ultimately created an oversupply.

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