American Pima cotton has evolved from a textile option to a global standard for premium cotton fiber. Demand for American Pima has increased through the entire downstream supply chain on a global basis. India is the top buyer. It’s seen as comfortable clothing in India’s climate. Yet there are obstacles.
One, is contamination from bale packaging in the making of cloth. Plastic fibers from bale packaging, especially white ones, intertwined in the cotton lint can render hundreds of yards of fabric worthless if not detected early in the bale opening portion of the manufacturing process. It has become so serious that China, one of American Pima’s biggest customers, is considering mandating cotton bale bagging.
US growers, ginners, merchants, and scientists are getting down to minimizing or eliminating foreign fiber contamination to increase demand for American Pima. Another challenge is more problematic. It’s sticky cotton caused by secretions from silver leaf whiteflies and aphids on cotton lint. Gummy cotton lint is a problem from start to finish in the manufacturing process. It is expensive to gin and costly in textile manufacturing.
The major issue is that some growers do not follow control programs because they are too difficult and expensive. However, one grower’s sticky cotton affects all growers at a gin.