Woolmark eyeing entry into handloom clusters in Gujarat, Manipur

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2017-07-05 15:00:00 – New Delhi

In order to increase the import of the premium Merino wool in India, the Australian textile major The Woolmark Company is planning an entry into the domestic handloom and weaving clusters of Gujarat and Manipur.

Arti Gudal, country manager, The Woolmark Company said that about 85 per cent of Indian wool is of carpet grade; 10 per cent is of coarse grade and only five per cent is of apparel grade. The textile and apparel industry imports a bulk of its wool from Australia.

Yet, as against China's 80 per cent share, India has merely five per cent share in Australia's Merino wool exports. They are willing to imbibe the premium Merino wool in India's handloom sector through such clusters.

In its efforts to explore other markets for wool, The Woolmark Company has entered into a collaboration with the Tiruppur Exporters' Association (TEA).

R M Shanmugham, president, Tiruppur Exporters' Association said that the Rs 26,000-crore Tirupur apparel industry is heavily dependent on cotton.

However, last year the industry association started a workshop on the use of Merino wool for knitwear.

To further boost imports, The Woolmark Company has also announced the second phase of its 'Grown In Australia, Made In India' initiative. The campaign will highlight the farm-to-fashion journey of Merino wool from Australia to India. The campaign aims to connect stakeholders, including brands, manufacturers and the government across the supply chain with the consumers joining the journey from this year.

Gudal said that the campaign will be a four-month long project starting from September and ending in December. Through this initiative, they will bring to light the different stakeholders of our journey– the Kullu weavers of Himachal Pradesh, the wool shawl and knitwear industry and their collaboration with commercial brands who have endorsed Merino wool in India.

Australia is expected to produce around 300 million kg of wool in 2017-18, accounting for around 90 per cent of the global market. While a majority of India's suit and knitwear products already use Australia's premium Merino wool, the textile firm anticipates further growth in the domestic market share.

As against a total demand of 148 million kg of wool across the textile value chain, India produces only 48 million of domestic wool and imports 17 million kgs of wool worth $165 million.

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