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Australian firm plans weaving clusters in Gujarat, Manipur

Business Standard:  July 06, 2017

Ahmedabad: “About 85 per cent of Indian wool is that of carpet grade, with 10 per cent being coarse grade and only five per cent apparel grade. The textile and apparel industry imports 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. Going forward, however, we wish to imbibe the premium Merino wool in India's handloom sector through such clusters,” said Arti Gudal, country manager, The Woolmark Company.

Australia is expected to produce 300 million kg of wool in 2017-18, which comes to about 90 per cent of the global wool market. While most of the worsted suiting and knitwear industry in India uses Australia’s premium Merino wool, The Woolmark Company anticipates a scope for a bigger market here. 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 kg of wool, worth $165 million, said Aditi Rout, trade advisor wool, Ministry of Textiles.

In its efforts to explore a bigger market for the wool, The Woolmark Company has already entered into a collaboration with the Tiruppur Exporters’ Association (TEA).

“The Rs 26,000-crore Tirupur apparel industry is heavily dependent on cotton. However, last year the industry association started a workshop on use of Merino wool for knitwear. As on date, already seven companies here have begun manufacturing knitwear using wool,” said R M Shanmugham, TEA president, while refusing to divulge wool-based knitwear production details of the industry.

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 - growing in Australia before being transformed into unique fashion pieces in India. The campaign aims to further connect brands, manufacturers and the Government of India across the wool supply chain; this year will also allow consumers to join the journey.

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

Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same.