By: Dr. K.P. Chellamani and Mr. M.K. Vittopa

The South India Textile Research Association
Coimbatore � 641 014

Introduction

Traditionally, Indian textile industry has been very strong in fine and superfine varieties of textile products in the global market. The fine and superfine cotton fabrics fetch very high value addition.

Promotion of ELS cotton would have great impact on the development of the handloom sector and fulfil the requirements to develop the �HANDLOOM MARK� announced in the Union budget 2006-07. The handloom weavers would be able to get the fine and superfine count cotton yarns at a competitive price and produce a large number of value added apparels.

Fine and super fine cotton yarns are also used for knitting fashion garments and kids wear.

Foreign demand for ELS cotton fibre is on the increase; ELS cotton consumption is surging in China because of the investments that have been made in the Chinese textile industry over the past few years. Currently, India has over 40% share in the global yarn trade of fine and superfine counts and most of the mills producing fine counts have already established their �Brand� in the global market.

In order to face the global competition, it is essential to make ELS cotton available to the Indian mills with price levels at par with the International prices. Hence, it is imperative for India to give priority in increasing the ELS cotton production to retain the market share and to improve the fortunes of the farming community.

This paper deals with how contract farming through mills association can help to promote ELS production in India.

2.0 Decline in ELS Cotton Production in India over the Years

As per projections made by Arindam Basu & K. P. Chellamani[3], the ELS cotton requirement at the terminal year of the 11th Five year plan period (2011-12) will be around 20 lakh bales.

During 1983-84, India achieved a record production of 11.46 lakh bales in ELS varieties. During the year 1987-88, India could produce 12.21 lakh bales in DCH 32 variety alone. In Suvin, the country could produce 0.44 lakh bales in the year 1989-90. Now, the production in ELS varieties has come down drastically and India could produce hardly 2000 bales in Suvin and 3.11 lakh bales in DCH 32.

2.1 Why Salem Cotton Farmers gave up �Suvin� Cultivation?

- A Quote from News Item Appeared in Business Line[4]

The one common factor among Mr. E.R. Sakthivel, Mr. M. Govindaraj and Mr. D. Durai Ganapathy, all farmers from Athur in Salem District, is that they were all, once upon a time, loyal growers of the �Suvin� cotton, for which Athur is well known. The �Suvin� variety has been considered as an equivalent to the finest Egyptian cotton. And today all of them have given up cultivating this cotton variety to take up the other less known long/medium staple cotton varieties.