Friday, October 29, 2010

Now that malkha has created a name and a demand for itself in the market, we in the Decentralized Cotton Yarn Trust and the Malkha Marketing Trust with our technical collaborators Fractal Foundation have to put all our energies into streamlining production. This is not easy, as some of the earlier blogs have discussed, because the pre-spinning activity is entirely new to villages... or can be considered new since it has not been done at this level [and certainly not in this way] for at least half a century except in the extraordinary villages of Srikakulam district, Andhra Pradesh, where they still use traditional technology. Certainly the Gramaspinner pre-spinning machinery with its micro-processor controls is new to rural settings.

The entire production process has to work smoothly, employing people who have never before worked in such an enterprise that combines a traditional artisan activity such as hand-weaving with the running of state-of-the-art pre-spinning machinery, and which includes either mechanized spinning or domestic motorized yarn spinning. Each stage has a different speed and rate of production, and of course each stage is dependent on the one before, so all the producers must collaborate and co-operate for the whole operation to work.

Though that is a huge problem an even bigger drawback is the lack of electricity, with swingeing power cuts reducing working times: this is the biggest drawback to productivity that we face today. In the long term we hope with the help of Fractal to address this problem by trying out alternative energy sources, but in the short term this is a serious handicap. However, we cannot wait for solutions to the power problem before we go ahead with setting up more malkha centres. We hope that while we go ahead and commission more malkha production that the various experiments currently going on - in the country and throughout the world - in generating energy through sun, wind or bio-mass will come up with a viable solution for small-scale, dispersed, low-energy, village based production.

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