Outreach and Engagement is Essential for the Cotton Sector

By: Seshadri Ramkumar, Professor, Texas Tech University, USA

(Lubbock, USA, May 15, 2024)—Opportunities for cotton in non-commodity applications can arise based on effective outreach and engagement with broader audience.

Cotton needs to be presold based on its environmental friendliness.

Since the 4th session of the intergovernmental negotiating committee to draft a global plastic treaty concluded recently in Ottawa, Canada, April 23–29, 2024, plastic pollution has garnered significant attention. Notably, the United Nations Environmental Program’s report on plastic manufacture and pollution served as a conversation guide. There’s a connection between plastic pollution and the environment and human health, the document claims. Insisting on the necessity for a bold plan and vision, it demands an end to pollution. This provides a boost to the natural fiber industries, such as cotton, encouraging them to focus on improving the quality and productivity of cotton while going beyond simple fashion items.

Enhancing the development of innovative cotton and natural fiber goods that can replace plastics requires further incentive. In order to promote positive stories about cotton and how it helps fight pollution, industry outreach and involvement are crucial.

Leading cotton associations, such as the National Cotton Council in the United States, Cotton Incorporated in Cary, North Carolina, and the Cotton Association of India, are financing research and marketing initiatives to highlight cotton’s good attributes.

In addition to these efforts, it is critical that these campaigns reach students in middle and high schools, colleges, and universities, as these are the future customers with independent decision-making and purchasing power. Academic institutes in the United States, one of the world’s largest cotton producers and exporters, place a premium on outreach and involvement with business and community. Such initiatives must be emulated in other cotton-producing countries, where stakeholders are actively engaged to obtain the most recent information and increase cotton’s footprint in a variety of goods.

Our laboratory’s engagement activity, “Lab in a Bag,” aims to expose the advanced applications of cotton to school pupils and the general public by bringing a portable laboratory and conducting experiments that whet the public’s hunger for cotton and its advanced applications.

We have met with stakeholders and students in the United States and India to promote cotton in industrial applications through in-person and virtual presentations.

Cotton experiments were undertaken in forums held by Workforce Solutions of Texas in agricultural villages including Muleshoe and Plainview. Demonstrations are an important aspect of presentations at Lubbock Chamber of Commerce events such as the Young Leaders Forum, STEM Nights in elementary schools, and so on.

Positive aspects of cotton and its applications to clean up toxic oil spills are regularly presented in forums organized by the Textile Association of India, which has 20,000 members, as well as institutions such as Coimbatore’s Kumaraguru College of Technology and Avinashilingam Institute for Home Science & Higher Education.

Nonwovens and advanced textiles industry can explore opportunities in cotton, and other natural fibers by engaging with institute and academia such as Mumbai-based Central Institute for Research on Cotton Technology, to name a few.

Presentation made to Mandela fellows from Africa on the emerging applications of cotton is archived here:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *