A sixteen-member delegation from six African countries is currently exploring the possibility of directly exporting cotton from their countries to Indian textile mills, especially those based in Coimbatore and Tirupur.
The delegates from Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Nigeria, Uganda and Malawi, include Government officials as well as private players from the cotton and textile industry.
During a meeting with representatives of the Indian Cotton Federation in Coimbatore, the visiting team urged the cotton traders and textile mills to help them in developing direct cotton trade between their countries and India.
Speaking to Fibre2fashion, Mr. Vishwanathan, Secretary of the Indian Cotton Federation, said, “A delegation from Africa had come on a fact finding mission two years back. This time they have come with concrete plans to export cotton to India.”
Indian Cotton Federation officials told the visiting members of the delegation that a substantial quantity of African cotton is currently being sourced by textile mills in Coimbatore region through international traders and merchants.
They said the Coimbatore region uses over 10 million bales (of 170 kg each) of cotton each year, and most of it is bought from Gujarat. For importing cotton from Africa, the time taken for delivery is more, in addition to issues such as shade variation and contamination.
However, they are willing to help facilitate direct cotton trade between the African countries and India, but would like to have more information about the quantity of cotton produced in each country, the marketing season, Government norms, taxation, etc. Moreover, problems related to regular shipments and infrastructure need to be addressed, they added.
The visit of the African delegation to India has been organized as part of the Indian Government’s Cotton Technical Assistance Programme for Africa (CTAP). The programme aims to strengthen the cotton value chain in Africa to fortify the competitiveness of the sector.