Interview with Mr Nick Earlam

Mr Nick Earlam
Mr Nick Earlam
Plexus Cotton Ltd
Plexus Cotton Ltd

Since launch in 1990, Plexus Cotton- a cotton producing, ginning,and merchandizing company based in UK, has rapidly grown into a global network of partnerships, with an annual turnover approaching half a billion dollars. Its influence and activities comprise farming, ginning, warehousing, logistics and marketing operations. The Group through its overseas operations employs approximately 2,000 people world-wide. Mr Nick Earlam, founder, is the current Chairman of the Group. He has held several posts in the International Cotton Trade, namely President of the International Cotton Association (formerly the Liverpool Cotton Association) 1995 & 2003; Chairman of the Association of Cotton Merchants of Europe 1997; Inaugural Chairman of the Private Sector Panel of the International Cotton Advisory Committee 2000. Besides cotton world he also has been member of the China Advisory Committee to the Evian Group; Chairman of Liverpool Associates for Tropical Health (LATH); member of the Board of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, and trustee of Liverpool Cathedral Centenary Trust. Speaking with Face2Face team, Mr Nick Earlam shares his views on current cotton industry worldwide.

Face2Face welcomes you Sir! Should we begin with a word from you on present state of your industry worldwide?

Our Industry is going through a phase of substantial consolidation. A number of long established market participants have either left the Industry or been merged with other substantial companies and some new participants have entered.

The remaining market participants should do well providing that we do not have another “black swan” situation which occurred twice in 2008 – once in March 2008 and then again with the de-leveraging caused by the Lehmann and AIG crisis.

Mr Earlam, Plexus has been into cotton profoundly; that is from seeding to cultivation to processing to marketing. Can you share with us, which all hurdles come in the way of progress of industry?

Our desire is to empower the Farmer in Africa so that his yields can increase and his income increase substantially and to help him realize value down the supply chain. This will have a profound effect on the local economies and help break down the cycle of poverty that goes from one year to the next.

I hope that African governments will look seriously at the genetically modified seed issue as this would have an immediate impact.

The hurdles in achieving this are often that many times the participants involved have different agendas.

The success will be when everybody works in the same direction for the same end goal and we hope this can be achieved by honest and open dialogue.

We too appreciate this spirit of limpidity! Mr Earlam, a lot of talks related to MSP issues in Indian cotton popped up outside India too. Can Indian Cotton’s MSP impact world cotton prices?

At the moment it would appear likely that most farmers will achieve better than the MSP so it is unlikely to have much effect on world cotton prices unless international prices go back to this level


I think that the Indian MSP provides a fair return to Growers and the knowledge that it is there for the last two seasons must give confidence to the farmers to plant cotton again, which is healthy for the Indian cotton Industry at a time when acreage for raw cotton has declined globally.

Published on: 30/11/2009

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of

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