Interview with Mr Jesse Curlee

Face2Face
Mr Jesse  Curlee
Mr Jesse Curlee
President
Supima
Supima

Good to know that. Appreciable indeed. Lets turn to acreages figure; don't you think they are going down compared to those two years ago? How would you express your concern on this?

This is a major concern of mine because prices will have to increase in order for American growers to produce this special cotton.

Could you please also apprise us with the facts and figures on US cotton output, and Pima’s share of the US cotton for last 2 years?

American Pima cotton production declined almost 50% last year and will decline at least another 20-25% this year. In 2007/08 the USA produced a crop of 851,000 bales, while the 2008/09 crop declined to 431,000 bales. We are expecting a crop of approximately 350,000 for 2009/10. At the same time, our two primary competitors…Egypt and China have also seen similar production declines. The reason; prices are just not attractive to the growers for this special cotton. Also, recession that occurred in 2008 has drastically reduced demand for higher priced cotton fibers.

If so, how about Organic cotton? Though still a small drop in the Global Cotton Ocean, it is increasingly gaining its importance. What say?

Organic cotton is something lots of brands/retailers talk about but at least in ELS cottons they are not willing to pay the extra cost. At least this is what we have seen. USA growers will not grow this cotton without a forward contract and there just is not much current demand.

Mr Curlee, we’ve covered news on DNA authentication of cotton fiber. Can you please explain in details to our readers how quality products are assured in a cost effective manner?

Supima is working or under contract with a company that has been able to extract the DNA from raw fiber, yarns and even finished textiles and determine if it is a barbadense or a hirsutum. This company is doing “fiber typing” now and expects to soon be able to identify which ELS cotton is used in a product. We see this as a way to verify that a textile product is in fact “Supima” and not manufactured with a blend of upland cotton or some other cheaper ELS cotton.

Interesting! And now, we request you some trends forecast for the market in near future.

I would forecast a slow recovery in the ELS industry. People are not going to give up on luxury cotton goods, so the ELS industry will recover. We are already seeing some slight increases in demand, but it will be slow and may not get back to strong demand for more than a year. The question is will growers of ELS cotton still be interested in growing this cotton after two seasons of low prices.

Well on that note, Fibre2fashion optimistically wishes for the best. Last but not least; this year has been celebrated as an International Year of Natural Fibres. Any benefits seen from this project on your industry?

I don’t really see any benefit to our industry, as the consumer does not know about this being the International Year of Natural Fibers nor do they probably care. It is a nice slogan and PR campaign, but it does not help in regard to demand.

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Click here to read previous interview with SUPIMA
Published on: 20/07/2009

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 Fibre2Fashion.com.

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