'ATIRA assures full support in branding Shankar-6' – Director
Dr AK Sharma, Director - ATIRA
Voices for branding the most exportable raw cotton variety - Shankar - 6 are getting louder and shriller by the day from the cotton value-chain in Gujarat. The reasons are not far to seek. Shankar - 6 has become synonymous with long staple cotton and is much in demand across global markets.
To take advantage of the brand equity of Shankar – 6 cotton, unscrupulous elements in the cotton value-chain are passing on other varieties of cotton with or without similar properties to the overseas buyers as Shankar – 6, which inflicts a huge loss to the cotton value-chain in Gujarat.
Fibre2fashion has taken up the endeavor to help the cotton growers, ginners and traders in Gujarat in the initiative to brand Shankar – 6 cotton. As part of its efforts, it met a few experts from Gujarat, which includes a cotton seed producer, patent expert and a top official of a government owned cotton body.
Fibre2fashion also met the Director of Agriculture; Dr Shah in the Gujarat Agriculture Ministry to enlist his support for this venture. As part of its continuing efforts, the team of fibre2fashion met the Director of Ahmedabad Textile Research Association (ATIRA) to solicit help for this initiative.
ATIRA is an autonomous non-profit association for textile research and is the largest of its kind in India and works under the Ministry of Textiles. Apart from research activities, ATIRA also provides valuable testing services like chemical, physical, biological testing of products as well as provides mechanical and thermal calibration services to the textile sector.
Fibre2fashion spoke to Dr AK Sharma – Director of ATIRA in a long and informative chat. Dr Sharma has an illustrious lineage with the textile sector. He was associated with ATIRA in the first six years of his career. He then switched to the private sector and has held several senior positions. He returned to ATIRA as Director in April 2006 to pursue his keen interest in research.
The first thing the team of fibre2fashion noticed was that Dr Sharma spoke like a corporate honcho rather than a government bureaucrat. He seemed full of energy and wanted ATIRA to become a happening place by providing a host of services in the field of technical textiles, still a nascent industry in India.
Dr Sharma was also very interested in the concept of globally branding Shankar - 6 cotton. He informed, “We have recently completed a report and submitted it to the Government of Gujarat in which we have underlined the ways and means to brand and trademark Shankar – 6 cotton”.
He explained by saying, “ATIRA is willing to take the onus of setting the parameters of Shankar – 6. We are also willing to set up six cotton testing laboratories across the major cotton growing regions in the state and provide testing and certification services, which is the most important part of the process”.