Our Bureau The powerloom sector in India can double its earnings in five years if it focuses on value addition, modernisation and by enhancing productivity, said SSM Mathivanan, President, Tamilnadu Powerloom Federation Ltd (TNPLF).
Addressing a session on the challenges and opportunities of the weaving sector at Weaves, a premier trade fair under way at Texvalley, Erode, he observed that India continued to export grey fabrics to countries such as China and Bangladesh, which in turn added value to these fabrics for better realisation in international markets. Grey fabrics fetch just about ?30 a metre for weavers, but with value-addition like fabric printing, weavers can get double the amount.
“The sector needs to embrace modernisation and go for wider fabrics which are in high demand. The sector currently produces fabrics with a width of 48 inches but with automated looms, it will be able to produce fabrics of 63 inches width.”
He said India stood sixth in loom productivity despite having more machinery than China, which is ranked on top in productivity. “There are about 50 lakh handlooms, half as many powerlooms and close to 2 lakh automatic looms. While one powerloom can produce 50 metres of fabric a day, we are able to achieve only half of it,” Mathivanan said.
“Lack of quality power and fluctuation in the price of raw materials also impacts the sector. Also, more than 90 per cent of powerlooms are in the unorganised sector and these units do not have the wherewithal to impart training to workmen. If these issues are addressed, and the units venture into value addition, there should be no turning back, as the demand for fabrics is set to grow,” he said.
“The per capita consumption of fabrics is registering continuous growth, from about 10 metres a day two decades back to 25 metres at present. While it is a pittance when compared to the US, where the per capita consumption is close to 500 metres, with increasing purchasing power and lifestyle aspirations, it is set to grow in India too,” Mathivanan added.
Puneet Dudeja, Sales Director (South Asia), WGSN, a fashion forecast services company, urged weavers to exploit business opportunities that arise out of trends such as fads, fashion and classics. “Big data and artificial intelligence can play a key role in fashion forecasting,” he said.