With the beginning of the cotton season, China-based traders and importers have started their yearly visits to Gujarat-based cotton delinting plants. Last week saw many such traders and consumers of lint coming to Gujarat to survey delinting units in the Rajkot, Gondal and Kadi areas.
Delinting is a process of removing of residual cotton from seeds. The product that comes out after delinting process finds a huge demand in China as among other things it is also used in making of currency paper. Apart from that the process also helps in improving the quality of cattle feed produced from cotton seeds. Currently lint prices are pegged at Rs 22-28 per kg while last year the lint price had gone up to Rs 70-75 per kg.
There is some Chinese interest in the industry as lint is used for making currency notes in China. Moreover it is also used in chemicals and to make explosives in China informed Suresh Mishra, general manager of operations at MEP Cotton Ltd.
Generally China buys lint from Andhra Pradesh in India as they are the largest producer of lint in the country. But quality wise lint produced in Gujarat is better so some Chinese buyers visited our units and saw for themselves the delinting process at our plant. Chinese buyers visit Gujarat two or three times in a year for this purpose claimed Arvind Raichura, director of Balkrishna Ginning, Rajkot. He further added that Balkrishna Ginning had started the delinting plant in October 2010 armed with an investment of Rs 1.60 crore and currently the production capacity of the plant was about 100 tones per month.
Chinese traders have also visited MEP Cotton Limited in Gondal and Pashupati Cotton Industry in Kadi.
There are five producers of cotton lint in Gujarat with a production capacity of about 1500 tones every month. Gujarat still has a very nominal share in lint production as the cotton industry in Gujarat is still to wake up to the concept of delinting as it is a costly affair and they are unsure of how to go about marketing the same said Saurin Parikh of Pashupati Cotton Industry.
This revival of interest in Gujarat's delinting industry has spurred optimism among the trader community of Saurashtra.
The future of delinting is very bright as of the total cotton production in India only 6 percent engages into the delinting process. The potential for capacity expansion is huge and the demand is also increasing as it may also help in increasing our meal exports in the coming years Raichura added.