High cost of doing business has been singled out as one of the challenges facing investors eyeing the local textile industry, a lobby group said on Friday.
Subsequently, prospective investors are opting to venture in neighbouring countries where they are offered a better business environment.
Political insecurity and huge gaps within intermediate sectors of the cotton value chain are other impediments to the sector's progress, according to Rajeev Arora, the executive director of African Cotton and Textile Industries Federation.
In Kenya cotton is mainly grown by small scale farmers. ACTIF has unveiled a farm-to-fashion value chain campaign dubbed Origin Africa. It is intended to make the continent a preferred sourcing destination for textiles and apparels.
Arora said ginners and spinners should be empowered with better technology to enable them add value to compete favourably on the world market.
"Our biggest problems include obsolete technology and equipment that was introduced almost a century ago," he said.
Cyrille Nabutola, chief executive of the Export Processing Zones Authority, said Kenyan businesses need to get into international markets to woo investors.
"Our products are of the required standards and quality to compete in the international market, therefore as a nation, we should get our fashion businesses to woo and gain those markets," he said.