Opinion: Effective Communication is a Critical Need for Cotton and Textiles

Timely and effective communication is vital for the cotton and textile industries.

With the global cotton sector under tremendous pressure in terms of demand and price levels, two factors can be helpful – mission-linked research and effective and timely communication.


In the textile industry, where established giants such as China and India are struggling, research that can lead to cost-effective products via diversification is a critical need. Research that can lead to products to improve life, meet societal requirements and protect the environment will help the industry. The mission-linked research model developed by the agriculture sector can be followed by the textile sector. This approach emphasizes the importance of stakeholders’ views in planning, executing and supporting research programs.

United States cotton growers are a good example in supporting and carrying out research that will benefit their cause, such as reducing insect pressure, yield improvements amidst environmental stress, contamination control and more.

Although there is no simple or straight forward strategy to conduct research, sage advice given to me 25 years ago while I was a doctoral student at Leeds University, U.K., by Dr. Manickvasagam Sundaram – currently a senior physician in the Department of Medicine at Lakeridge Health, Oshawa, Canada – is worth noting.

Opinion: Effective Communication is a Critical Need for Cotton and Textiles

Dr. Seshadri Ramkumar (left) with his research mentor Dr. Manickavasagam Sundaram.


Dr. Sundaram told me that working on parallel projects, although difficult, will help reduce risk. That valuable guidance helps me even to this day. I have used this approach in my 20 years at Texas Tech University that has resulted in products such as “FiberTect,” a toxic chemical decontamination wipe, and “Towelie,” an environmentally friendly oil absorbing mat.

Dr. Sundaram is currently visiting our laboratory in Lubbock and reiterated the importance of research and effective communication, which are important for practicing physicians, academicians, industrialists and even policy makers. More often, research yields results which are not expected, but they help with improving and will lead to successful outcomes. In such situations, transparent and clear communication clearly help.

The need for timely and good communication across the industry was emphasized this week in Lubbock during a gathering of about 250 people at the Texas Cotton Association’s Cotton Flow meeting.

Proper planning, skillful execution and effective communication are needed for the industry – and, in fact, for any project to succeed.


Author’s Note: As India celebrates Teachers Day, this article is a tribute to my mentors in India, U.K and the United States, who have helped with my research and communication skills.