Nowadays, Thailand is primarily known as a silk producer, though it also produces organic and inorganic cotton on a much smaller scale. The country has a historic base of cotton and silk production, and its textile industry has continued to branch out into a mix of agricultural and petrochemical companies that supply natural and synthetic filaments and fibres used to manufacture textiles in Thailand and around the world.
In terms of textiles, one of the things that makes Thailand unique is that the country can supply the entire textile industry chain, from the initial stages all the way through to retail.
Cotton in Thailand
Cotton is the most commonly used fibre in Thai weaving, and is an important crop for the continuously growing textile industry. According to a report in 2012, the annual national production is around 25,000 tons, which is around 7% of the country’s total demand. Therefore, additional supplies have to be imported from Australia, the United States, China and India, making Thailand one of the most cotton importing countries.
When it comes to local cotton, Chiang Mai grown cotton is particularly favourable, and comes in two varieties. The first type is called ‘moi rat cotton’ or ‘fai tun’ and produces light brown tufts, whilst the second type produces white tufts. Locally grown cotton has a lower yield, coarser threads and more of a light brown colour, but its quality is what makes it great for weaving textiles. It can also be worn throughout the year due to its breathability, keeping the body warm in the winter and cool in the summer.