• Case studies of large national cotton consumers

    Chapter 6 - Market profiles - South Africa 

    Frame Textiles

    The Frame Group is one of the largest textile and textile related product manufacturers in Southern Africa, with plants situated in KwaZulu Natal and the Western Cape of South Africa. Frame Spinning Mills is the largest spinning operation in Southern Africa, comprising 8 spinning mills situated in Ladysmith and New Germany, KwaZulu-Natal. This division produces over 34,000 tons of short staple yarn per annum. Products range from 100% combed cotton and carded cotton yarns, to cotton blends, polyester viscose, 100% acrylic and various mélange type yarns.

    Frame Textiles only purchase cotton from within the SADC region to avoid paying the R1.60 tariff that cotton from other sources attracts. Over the last eight years since the agreement has been in place, Frame has developed a good relationship with suppliers within SADC and logistically and quality wise, the regional suppliers are well suited as suppliers to the South African market.

    The downside of purchasing from regional suppliers is that their seasons are virtually identical to South Africa's cotton season which means that Frame cannot always negotiate upliftments during May, June and July. For this reason it would be good to have an alternate source provided that the price and availability were right.

    Frame purchase specific cottons for specific buyers. Generally, the company purchase cotton with a staple fibre length of 11/8 inch which is hand-picked. The company would look at 11/16 inch as sometimes fabrics are over-engineered.

    Frame Textiles will only purchase via recognised cotton merchant who are members of the International Cotton Association.


    Cargill has been active in South Africa since 1995 and has over 100 employees in the country. The company's South African operations are headquartered in Johannesburg. Cargill is involved in cotton ginning in South Africa through its acquisition in 2006 of Clark Cotton's cotton ginning business including its three gins in South Africa.

    Cargill contract directly with cotton growers in the sub-Saharan region to get cotton grown which is then ginned at Cargill Ginneries. The company then supply the cotton lint to the large spinning operations in South Africa. Contracting directly with farmers allows Cargill to control in some way the faming principals used to grow the cotton which ultimately dictates quality.

    The company buys cotton according to the specifications of the spinners that they supply. This means that they deal in a wide range of staples and grades, from A through to BSG. Generally Cargill struggles with cotton supply in the region as it is negatively affected by the maize price: as the maize price increases, regional supply of cotton declines. 
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    Cotton Exporter's Guide

    Brochure - African cotton promotion
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