Armenia is trying to increase its share of the garment and textile market locally and internationally, with the Russian government trying to help with a US$1m grant.

This will fund a project on 'Improving Competitiveness of Export-Oriented Industries in Armenia through Modernisation and Market Access', which will be implemented by the UN Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO).

The head of United Nations Industrial Development Organisation  (UNIDO) operations in Armenia, Anahit Simonyan, told just-style: "International textile and garment industry experts specialised in production process, quality, cost, product development and design are already in the country" to lead this initiative. They are currently conducting initial needs assessments with 10 participating garment producing companies, she said.

Its aim is to build local technical capacity to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and modernise Armenian products as high-end design goods, according to Simonyan.

To achieve this, technical capacities in innovative fashion design and modelling will be increased, with project experts promoting networking and institutional partnerships between textile producers, designers of ready-made clothing and exporters.

The project's main partner, the Armenian Development Agency (ADA), said in a report 'Textile and Apparel Industry in Armenia - Partnership opportunities in 2011-2012' there is "high potential for upward linkages into textiles, if somewhat [out] dated German, Japanese, Czech and Russian equipment can be intelligently modified."

In 2010, Armenia's textile exports stood at US$6.75m, the report said adding: its key export market for garments and textiles are the Commonwealth of Independent States [former Soviet Union], as well as Canada, Germany, the US and Italy.