Local SMEs tapped to produce masks

Local SMEs tapped to produce masks

An official shows how to sew a face mask at the Public Health ministry on March 2. (Photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)
An official shows how to sew a face mask at the Public Health ministry on March 2. (Photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

Seven small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the garment industry are ready to produce around 350,000 washable fabric masks per month to help solve the shortage of masks in Thailand.

Director-general the Department of Industrial Promotion (DIP), Nattapol Rangsitpol, said seven local sportswear and undergarment manufacturers — Manee Innerwear, Yong Sanga, Union Thai Group, Kennet Textile, High Quality Garment, World Knitting Apparel and Apparel Creation — have changed their production lines to produce masks, in line with the government's policy.

Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak had previously ordered garment and textile factories in Thailand to prepare materials to make face masks to serve growing demand and overcome shortages.

"Those companies' reported that each of their factories are able to produce around 50,000 masks per month," he said.

Mr Nattapol said the masks will be taken up by the government, which will then redistribute it to the public.

The Industry Ministry recently said a total of 10 million masks will be sent out to households across Bangkok via Thailand Post. The first batch of 1 million masks will be mailed out tomorrow, so Bangkok residents can expect to start receiving their masks on Saturday.

The masks distributed by the government will be made out of washable material — including cotton and salu cloth.

Mr Nattapol said these companies will also be producing masks made from other materials, which will be sold to the public at 30 baht apiece.

"The government believes this arrangement will help local business survive the hard times, especially in light of the mask shortage due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic," he said. 

Mr Nattapol said the Industry Ministry is supporting the companies by providing inputs on manufacturing standards, design and regulations.

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