Kannan Lakshminarayan a Chennai-based entrepreneur has developed a new technology solution, Microspine machine for cotton growers to carry out spinning and weaving activities at small units near cotton farms. After seen the low returns cotton grower get on the sale of the raw product.
The microspin machine will help them move upward the value chain in the vast business of producing garments, farmers can secure better returns and generate more productive employment at the farm a new solution has been developed.
According to Lakshminarayan, most of the value is added during the spinning process which is traditionally carried out at large industrial spinning units. India continues to operate large scale spinning units that forces the industry to mimic the scale and structure that made sense back then.
A new process is developed which depends on aerodynamics and buoyancy to separate the fibre and remove extraneous material. The end product that comes out of these machines is of better quality and is more absorbent to dyes. He claims to have filed for a patent on this technology.
Microspin Machine Works, the company Lakshminarayan founded in 2011, has set up one unit so far in Vidarbha in Maharashtra for a credit cooperative society that has cotton farmers as its members. Jitesh Prakash Chavan, a Vidarbha farmer said that he has worked at the unit for a year and has earned enough to set up a business of his own now.
One spinning unit requires input from about 100 acres of cotton farms and is spread over 3,000 square feet of area. The project cost of setting up such a unit is Rs 1 crore. A large scale mill is 100 times larger and requires that much more cotton, said Lakshminarayan. The company has another prototype for a unit that includes facilities for weaving and dying the cotton. That costs Rs5 crore to set up. The company is currently setting up two such units in different parts of the country.
To assist the farmers, Microspin also provides marketing and sales support to the unit and helps create market linkages. Chavan, the farmer from Vidarbha, has received complete training by engineers from Microspin to operate the units.
The fabric produced by the unit in Vidarbha sells for Rs150-250 per metre. Each unit can produce 1,000 metre of fabric or process 100-120 kg of cotton a day. As per Shambu Nampoothiri, director of fabric sourcing at Bangalore-based company Suvastra, the fabric has a slightly irregular and netty look, which is different from the regular cotton fabrics and will work well for traditional Indian attire. The company needs to market it well as there will be a huge demand for this fabric.
The IIT Madras graduate, Lakshminarayan has developed a number of technologies for low income markets including low cost ATMs that work using solar power.
India is the second largest producer of cotton in the world accounting for about 18% of the worldâ€™s cotton production. Since 1995 though, more than 270,000 of the farmers growing cotton have committed suicide. Pressures of unmanageable debt and poor returns on their crop have contributed to their misery. By implementing the new technology solution, Indian farmers can upgrade themselves.
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