Seshadri Ramkumar

Cotton, textile sectors presented opportunities to create start-ups

Posted January 7, 2021


By Seshadri Ramkumar


LUBBOCK, Texas – The new year is providing an optimistic picture for the cotton and textiles sectors.


“Yarn prices have hiked about 30% to 40% in three months,” said Velmurugan Shanmugam, general manager of Aruppukottai, India-based Jayalakshmi Textiles.


Yarn demand is high due to the lack of fabric stocks and hence processors are in urgent need of yarns, Shanmugam added. 


While the cotton and textiles sectors are witnessing growing demand, it is also important to focus on new developments.


“On a mid- to long-term basis, development of value-added products is important,” he said.


The cotton and textile sectors have an opportunity to create start-ups to enhance demand and create jobs. The importance of entrepreneurship and the need to infuse a start-up culture was stressed by India’s prime minister, Honorable Narendra Modi, in his December “Maa Ki Baat, [Speech from the Heart]” address to the nation.


Jayalakshmi Textiles, with 70,000 ring spindles produces cotton yarns ranging from 60s Ne to 140s Ne, with an average count of 67s Ne. Recently, I had the opportunity to collaborate with Jayalakshmi Textiles to develop cotton-based nonwoven filters and oil-absorbent wipes. The collaboration has led to the translation of my idea to useful cotton-based value-added products.


An international collaboration involving this scribe has resulted in the creation of a start-up, WellGro United in Chennai, India, to market cotton industrial products. Cotton processing expertise of Jayalakshmi Textiles has played a crucial role in transferring the idea to marketplace.


WellGro United has been marketing products that enhance human lives and protect the environment. Recently, India’s oil exploration company, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, Ltd., has been using cotton-based oil absorbent to counter oil spills in its Rajahmundry site on the banks of India’s second largest river, Godavari.


Jayalakshmi Textiles, a major cotton yarn spinner, is taking small steps to develop novel cotton products that have found inroads in the oil sector. Cotton-based mats are being exported to Nigeria and Poland for evaluation by industrial sectors.


With the increasing trend in demand and prices for cotton and textile products, there is optimism in the cotton textile sector to look for opportunities beyond commodity products.


Demand enhancement by developing functional and industrial products will be the next phase of the cotton textiles sector. 


Dr. Seshadri Ramkumar, Ph.D., CText., FTI (U.K.), FTA (honorary), is a professor at the Nonwovens & Advanced Materials Laboratory at Texas Tech.

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