Participants who attended the COTTON USA SOLUTIONS™ Executive Mill Mastery™ Course, paid for in part with MAP funding, expect to purchase an additional 531,000 bales of U.S. cotton, valued at $313 million.
Twenty-four executives from 24 mills in Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan attended the first-ever COTTON USA SOLUTIONS™ Executive Mill Mastery™ Course in Dubai in August of 2022. The training program targeted aspiring spinning mill executives for a five-day long program that gave participants an intensive look at the benefits of using U.S. cotton in their spinning mill operations. These countries were targeted specifically due to their importance in the global cotton industry. The south Asian region is one of the largest consumers of cotton fiber in the world, accounting for an estimated 37% of global cotton consumption in MY 2021/22. As the region shifts towards manufacturing more high-end products, there is an opportunity to increase U.S. exports however U.S. exports face strong competition. Cottons of other growths, especially Brazilian cotton, are growing in popularity, primarily due to their lower prices. In an effort to win over these important customers, the Brazilian cotton industry has also increased their marketing activities in the region, borrowing from Cotton Council International’s (CCI) playbook and recruiting south Asian buyers to events similar to COTTON USA™ Special Trade Missions and COTTON USA™ Executive Delegations.
To remain leaders in the region, CCI strategy now focuses on programs such as COTTON USA SOLUTIONS™, the world’s leading cotton consultancy, that help develop a performance and technical argument for U.S. cotton thus justifying a price premium. COTTON USA SOLUTIONS™ activities in the south Asian region are aimed at educating mills on how to manage U.S. cotton in the manufacturing process to maximize quality without sacrificing profit. Mills are taught to recognize the total cost of production, including the savings that come from using contamination-free cotton, an advantage of U.S. cotton, which results in less machine maintenance and less claims from downstream customers, ultimately saving the mill money. The service has been well received in the region and since its launch in the second half of 2019, COTTON USA SOLUTIONS™ activities have added over 40,000 bales to the supply chain, valued at more than $14 million.
The COTTON USA SOLUTIONS™ Executive Mill Mastery™ Course builds on existing technical servicing activities in the region, taking them to the next level. During the course, participants attended 12 educational modules that covered all aspects of handling U.S. cotton from purchasing to final textile production. These included: U.S. cotton sustainability and production practices, how to purchase U.S. cotton, U.S. cotton fiber quality, fiber selection and bale management, and fiber processing. The course also included a profitability module, which gave participants practical examples of how using U.S. cotton in their spinning operations can increase their overall profitability despite the higher cost of raw material inputs. After attending, 90% of the participants believe that U.S. cotton quality is better than cotton from other regions. 90% of the participants agree that using U.S. cotton in their mill operations can result in higher quality end products and 81% agree that using U.S. cotton in their mill operations can save their company money.
The COTTON USA SOLUTIONS™ Executive Mill Mastery™ Course also served as an opportunity to convince mills in the region who are using little to no U.S. cotton to consume larger quantities. The participating mill companies consumed nearly 3.5 million bales of cotton in MY 2020/21, but U.S. market share with these companies was only 14%. In post-surveys of the event, 90% of the participants said they were likely to purchase additional U.S. cotton in the next year as a result of their participation. In fact, one participating mill from Bangladesh was so impressed that during the course they instructed one of their factories to run 100% U.S. cotton from existing stock. When it was shown that wastage was only 9% after the switch, compared to 12-13% with other cotton, they instructed 3 of their factories to exclusively buy U.S. cotton for the first quarter of 2023.