From the United States to Tanzania to Bangladesh, cotton growers and manufacturers have new programs and expansions to support their businesses.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a commitment of $50 million to assist eligible apparel manufacturers of worsted wool suits, sport coats, pants or Pima cotton dress shirts, as well as Pima cotton spinners, and wool fabric manufacturers and spinners.
The new Cotton and Wool Apparel (CAWA) program is part of USDA’s Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative and the department’s efforts to help the food, agriculture and forestry sectors get back on track. The USDA rolled out the Pandemic Assistance initiative in March 2021 to reach a broad set of producers and agricultural businesses.
“The transition toward remote work at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic led to a dramatic decrease in consumer demand for dress clothing, which has continued to affect the entire supply chain of Pima cotton and wool,” said Farm Service Agency (FSA) administrator Zach Ducheneaux. “While many manufacturers of these products shifted to the production of personal protective equipment, the industry has nevertheless struggled to recover from a persistent and significant decline in sales.”
Ducheneaux said the relief will help keep these manufacturers in business, which will ultimately support American workers and the domestic Pima cotton growers and wool producers who rely on them.
CAWA will support eligible entities that experienced a decrease of at least 15 percent in 2020 gross sales or consumption of eligible products compared to the applicant’s gross sales in any of calendar years 2017, 2018 or 2019. Payments to eligible entities will be based on their pre-pandemic market share.
In addition, eligible entities must have filed an affidavit for a payment in any year from 2017 to 2021 for the Pima Agriculture Cotton Trust Fund or Agriculture Wool Apparel Manufacturers Trust Fund through USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service (FSA). USDA’s FSA national office is administering the direct payments, which will be funded by the Commodity Credit Corporation.
With traceability becoming a crucial product feature creating value for brands and manufacturers, as well as players at the beginning of the supply chain, international cotton trader Reinhart, together with Alliance Ginneries, now offers traceable GOTS compliant cotton from Tanzania using the DNA-based traceability solution from Haelixa.
The solution brings security and transparency to the spinning mill customers and their retail clients. In this context, it was important for Reinhart that the Haelixa marker is not only harmless for humans and the environment, but also GMO-free, OekoTex Standard 100 compliant and OTS certified.
Haelixa developed a unique marker for Reinhart that is applied directly at the gin in Tanzania with the customized automated sprayer developed by Haelixa. Spinning mills have from this week onward the opportunity to buy this marked cotton from Reinhart.
Traceability will be guaranteed through testing the final garment or any intermediate product to authenticate the marked organic cotton from Tanzania. A mill can buy the traceability package directly from Haelixa, which means a defined number of traceability tests will be done with the products in the Haelixa labs.
Haelixa will ask the mill or the brand to send in samples to verify traceability. After each test, a certificate is issued that confirms traceability of the product back to the region of Mwanza, Tanzania.
“Again and again we hear from our supply chain partners and especially from retailers that it is becoming more and more important to know exactly where the cotton comes from,” Marco Bänninger, head trader at Reinhart, said. “Furthermore, they want to be sure that they are guaranteed to get the cotton for which they are paying a premium. With the Haelixa marker, we would like to offer our customers an additional security.”
Recycled cotton fiber producer Recover has opened its new facility in Bangladesh, expanding the company’s manufacturing capabilities.
The Bangladesh facility comes fully equipped with Recover’s proprietary machinery, as well as RColorBlend installation, Recover’s innovative technology that provides fiber blends with color, with a lower environmental impact.
Located in Dhaka, the new manufacturing hub is an integral part of Recover’s strategy for growth and scalability with its recent partnership with Story3 Capital, a top alternative investment manager. This new facility helps Recover support the surging global demand for sustainable fibers, and circularity in the textile and fashion industry.
The strategic location of the facility, close to both textile waste sorting and textile manufacturing, will support Recover with its scaling ambitions, and place it close to the supply and demand, reducing carbon impact of transport.
“The new facility in Bangladesh is just one step in Recover’s ambitious expansion plans,” Alfredo Ferre, CEO of Recover, said. “In addition to our existing facilities in Spain and Pakistan, we are excited to announce the opening of a new manufacturing hub in Vietnam and a second facility in Bangladesh this year. Operations in Spain will also be expanded with greater investment in product development and further strategic alliances and business partners established globally.”