Rupa Cotton Mills

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East African Cotton

The cotton plant loves warmth. It needs about 200 days of sunshine in the season to flourish and bear fruit. For that reason alone, it does well in the dry or humid savannas of Africa. The climate, with its high average temperatures and alternation between dry and wet seasons favours the growing of this natural fibre crop. In East Africa, the warm temperatures are mixed with natural humidity from the large water bodies around the region, helping the cotton flourish.
Cotton Growing
Warm Africa

It takes about six months from planting to harvesting of cotton. After the harvest, seed and fibre are separated from each other in the gins, and the thin coating of wax that surrounds the fibres and protects them from wetness is removed. At the end, the raw cotton is pressed into large bales. The by-products of the ginning process are; cotton seeds, husk & other forms of biological plant waste. This in turn is used to produce linseed oil, cow feed, bio-fuel for cooking and burning, among a few. The entire cotton plant is used in some form and nothing is wasted.

From this stage, Rupa Cotton Mills buys the ginned cotton bales, and we spin the yarn, weave the fabric, process the fabric, finish the fabric and produce a finished home textile ready for the retail market. We are one of the only companies in the world who fully convert raw ginned cotton into a finished product.

This makes East African Cotton a truly sustainable crop.

Natural Irrigation

Benefits of East African Cotton:

  • Superb Absorbency - due to the large open cell structure of East African Cotton.
  • Excellent Handle - from the readily available moisture in the region.
  • Almost Organic - very minimal use of pesticides and fertilizer as most of the farming is small scale and subsistence.
  • Environemtally Friendly as it uses rainwater for irrigation.

The smallholder farmers work with rain-fed cultivation, in other words natural rainfall has to be enough for watering the crops. The wet and dry phases in the African growing areas are helpful to meet the needs of the cotton plant. The available rainwater has to be used efficiently, specifically in the dry areas of Africa. That requires balanced use of fertilizer or mulching. The soil between the cotton plants is covered with organic material such as leaves to reduce loss of moisture by evaporation. 

All the cotton in East Africa is handpicked when it is time to harvest. This ensures the best quality of cotton is chosen and also cleaner cotton is passed through as handpicking is very accurate compared to machines in large farms.

Farmers also rotate crops to keep the soil fertile throughout the season.

Final Product Cotton Towel