Choosing the right growth or origin is very important. Each growth has its own advantages and disadvantages that need to be factored before selecting any growth for a specific type of yarn. Each growth has historical characteristics but, in each season, due to changes in rain, heat, cold, pest attack, or any particular reasons the yield, production, quality and composition of characteristics vary and with these changes selection of growth may differ from time to time.
Another thing is the basis of different growth revolves over time. For example, 3 to 4 years ago, the basis of West African cotton was 500-600 points lower than now it is. On the other hand, the basis of the USA for 2019-2020 would be 200-300 points less than it was 2 or 3 years ago, in my opinion.
Lead time is also very important. Say Indian and Australian cotton has 4-6 weeks’ lesser lead time than the USA, Brazil and West Africa. Lesser lead time would lead to the lesser average stock of cotton which helps to reduce storage, interest and working capital requirement.
Another important thing is the assurance of quality. Normally, Australian, USA and Brazilian cotton come with individual bale test reports which really is a relief to the mill. Historically, CIS was favorite cotton and earned the reputation of the best quality even running cotton. West African cotton although doesn’t have individual bale test report, normally comes with consistent quality.
Indian cotton quality if bought after March shipment has some risk on the right quality and timely shipment. The export ban was imposed a few times that affected the supply chain of Bangladeshi spinners greatly. Pakistan itself is short of their cotton. Pakistani cotton is okay up to Ne 30/s but trash content is very high, contamination is a major issue and reliability is low on the right quality and timely shipment.
But having said that it is most important for the spinner to follow the following suggestions to reduce surprises, quality issues and shipment problems: –
- Select the right growth, specification, shipment and quantity for a year in advance. Keep the processes revolving monthly or quarterly basis, as it suits your mill.
- To identify the gap or to bridge the gap of raw cotton supply chain, if any, plan for the next lot in advance. The next lot plan should be based on the current stock that is left (Excluding the bales that are being used for the current lot) and the consignments that are expected to arrive before the current lot is finished. Please keep in mind that after the cotton consignment reaches the factory, it takes a minimum of 3 to 4 days to complete the sampling and testing (HVI and AFIS) before it could proceed for the bale layout plan.
- Normally, 1st pick has some issues while 2nd and 3rd pick comes with the best quality. So, origins that don’t have 100% bale to bale HVI data should be planned in a way that doesn’t cross 3rd picking time. Of course, from season to season, harvesting time changes and it should be kept in mind and keep the crop progress report of different origins in your daily routine.
- Buy cotton from only committed merchants and agents. Buyers also need to be committed as the relationship between buyer and seller is reciprocal.
Now, I would share some of my understanding of some major growths that I believe would be the major growths of interest to the spinning mills in Bangladesh for the next decade: –
- USA: the USA is one of the major exporters of cotton in the world that exports 10-15 million bales of cotton in a year. It has a wide range of cotton right from short-staple to extra-long-staple PIMA cotton. As most of the brands are looking for traceability and BCIproceed this growth gives the most along with Australian cotton. It is also contamination-free which is a very useful characteristic expected by the spinners.
Memphis Eastern (M/E) and California Arizona (C/A) are popular with spinners who are producing knit yarn. SUPIMA or PIMA cotton is also in good demand for the high-end market for its superior quality. The biggest advantage of USA cotton is individual bale ID and HVI report, which helps spinners a lot in making their purchase decision based on fact and this also helps to plan production in advance.
Basis of M/E 31-3, 1-1/8”, 3.80/4.9 NCL, GPT 28 (Min) C&F Chittagong if available @ 1200 and C/A @ 1400 would encourage spinners to buy more of this origin, in my opinion. Fumigation is mandatory only for USA growth in Bangladesh based on an outdated perspective and if it is waived like other growths it would help reduce cost and save a week while releasing USA cotton consignments.
- Brazil: Brazil had a very wrong perception among Bangladeshi spinners. It’s good to see those wrong conceptions are getting eliminated and the import of this growth over the last 3 to 4 years has been increasing. This growth is also 100% contamination-free and produces BCI cotton. It also has bale wise HVI report. This growth is the most competitive cotton that is available in quantity. This growth for medium count knit and the woven yarn is a close competitor to USA cotton.
- West Africa/Africa: These growths are very even running and yarn realization is very good. CIMA (Cotton Made in Africa) and BCI (Better cotton initiative) cotton are also available in large quantities. The basis has gone up due to higher demand and a reduction in Uzbek cotton export. Although these growths are not machine picked, due to ITC supported contamination reduction programs, contamination level is well within an acceptable level.
- India: India is also a major exporter of cotton in the world and also has a wide range of quality right from short-staple to Sea Island cotton. Due to the continuous efforts of CCI (Cotton Corporation of India), the contamination level has significantly improved. The quality of cotton also has improved. But 100% bale to bale HVI report is not available.
India is the cheapest source of organic cotton. The best shipment time of quality Indian cotton is November to March. However, Indian cotton is available throughout the year. As India has a strong spinning industry, the best quality cotton goes to them and rest is left for export. To ensure quality many spinning mills from Bangladesh, therefore, visits the ginning mills in India to take samples before selecting the lots for shipment which is normally of 100 bales.
To be continued……