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Surat manufacturers switch from MMF to cotton textiles
Apr '12
Textile manufacturers in Surat, long known as manufacturing hub for man-made fabrics (MMF), are shifting to production of home textiles and fabric for high quality shirting that have high cotton content.

Since decades, powerloom weavers in the city have been making polyester fabrics. But, the introduction of sophisticated machines, rise in crude oil prices and cotton prices being under control have together resulted in a noticeable change in production in the textile city, according to an industry expert.

In the last two years, the number of sophisticated machines, like Rapier and water jet looms, have increased from few hundreds to more than 20,000. This has resulted in nearly 25 percent of fabric production switching to cotton-based from the earlier polyester filament based.

Mr. Arun Jariwala, Chairman of Federation of Indian Art Silk Weaving Industry (FIASWI) and Indian Technical Textile Association (ITTA), spoke to fibre2fashion enlisting the reasons for the switch from MMF to cotton-based production in Surat.

“First, there is a zero excise duty on cotton and the excise duty on man-made yarn is 12 percent, which makes a lot of difference in the costs of both materials,” he says.

“Secondly, last year the export of cotton was open, due to which the prices of cotton had increased. But then, the Government controlled the export of cotton. This year too, the Government has controlled cotton exports and thus cotton prices are brought under control,” he continues.

“On the other hand, the prices of crude oil have risen to almost double. Most of the synthetic yarn is being manufactured from basic crude oil. So, the prices of synthetic yarn have increased by almost 40 percent. Along with that, now the prices of synthetic fabric have also risen,” he adds.

Elaborating further, he says, “In the current economic conditions of our country, people prefer the cheaper fabric, whereas normally people used to prefer a better quality or synthetic fabric or polyester fabric. But now due to price constraint, people prefer to buy fabric which is cheaper. So, the demand for MMF is going down.”

“In these circumstances, manufacturers are opting to make fabric in which the filament yarn content is only 30 percent and the rest is either cotton yarn, which is bleached, or blended yarn with 20% polyester and 80% viscose,” he reveals.

Elaborating the contribution of latest machines in switch to manufacturing of home textiles, he says, “Those powerloom owners who have purchased the waterjet looms or the Rapier looms, where the investment is high, cannot afford to manufacture ordinary fabric. Hence, they have shifted to manufacturing high quality shirting, fabrics for furnishings, bed linen, etc.”

“Moreover, the new looms that they have purchased have a bigger width, which cannot be used for production of sarees and dress materials. So, the business is getting diverted to home textiles. At present, there is a good market for such home textiles. While those who have latest equipments go for home textiles, those who have ordinary machines are switching to production of blended fabrics,” he avers.

When asked about suggestions to help Surat regain its popularity as MMF hub, he opines, “First of all, the excise duty on synthetic yarn has to be made equivalent to cotton. According to the fibre policy, there should be equal duty on all types of yarns. Secondly, we will have to wait for the oil prices to come down.”

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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