Responding to COVID-19: Moldovan fashion company switches production focus

Woman making PPE

With the Ready to Trade programme, CBI supports Moldovan and Belarusian apparel companies with their exports. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, demand from markets in Europe decreased significantly. But, the entrepreneurs taking part in the programme did not just watch as turnover fell. They saw the huge demand for face masks and protective clothing as an opportunity and started producing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

One of the companies that switched to producing PPE is PortaVita. Inside the factory building, the large quantities of white nonwoven fabric are impressive. Until March 2020, the company produced colourful dresses, blouses and tops. European fashion brands commissioned these items. CBI experts helped PortaVita switch from producing womenswear to medical protection coats.

Making the switch to PPE

CBI has helped PortaVita and the other companies in the programme by providing information and knowledge on manufacturing PPE. CBI experts explained the different types of masks and their effectiveness and safety. They also discussed:

  • Protective clothing and legal requirements within the European Union (EU).
  • Marketing PPE products; and
  • Potential customers.

The companies could apply this information to their PPE production immediately.

400 employees keep their jobs

Switching to the production of medical protection coats allowed PortaVita to continue paying its employees’ salaries. This meant that 400 people across PortaVita’s 3 branches kept their jobs. Most of these employees are women. Unemployment in Moldova and labour migration are high. So, allowing 400 people to keep their jobs makes a big difference. The company now produces 150,000 protection coats each month for Moldovan hospitals.

Ready to Trade programme

Together with the International Trade Centre (ITC), CBI carries out the Ready to Trade programme in 6 EU Eastern Partnership countries. These include:

  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Belarus
  • Georgia
  • Moldova; and
  • Ukraine.

CBI’s activities focus on developing the apparel industry in the Republic of Moldova and the Republic of Belarus. The goal is to increase exports of apparel to Europe.

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