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African cotton woos Indian textile sector
Mar '14
A 16-member six country African delegation is in India to explore ways and means to increase exports of African cotton to India. The delegation is also visiting various Indian textile clusters in order to check and imbibe the best practices practiced in these clusters.

The delegation visited Coimbatore cluster and had a close look at the spinning mills; knitting and ready-made garment units in Tirupur, handloom clusters near Hyderabad and also visited an IL&FS sponsored apparel stitching training institute in Delhi as part of the study tour.

Ms Milan Sharma – Head (Africa Initiatives) at IL&FS Cluster Development Initiative who was very gung-ho about the whole trip explains, “All the African countries who are participating in the delegation have realized that the textile and apparel sector has the potential to generate huge number of jobs, which is why the delegation is in India to see for themselves the various models adopted in India”.

While in Coimbatore, the delegation which compromises of businessmen from six countries – Uganda, Nigeria, Chad, Benin, Malawi and Burkina Faso, met members of the Indian Cotton Federation and a few spinners and discussed the challenges faced by spinners in importing African cotton.

Mr Vishwanathan – Secretary of the Indian Cotton Federation said, “A delegation from Africa had come on a fact finding mission two years back, but this time they have come with concrete plans to export cotton to India.”

“African cotton is being imported in huge quantities because of its good fibre qualities; however they are being imported in India through European cotton traders, but there is a delay in shipment, Mr Mubiru Richard, Director of Southern Range Nyanza Ltd and also Chairman of Textile Manufacturers' Association of Uganda exclusively told fibre2fashion.

“We have invited Indian spinners to come to Africa and visit our cotton farms and ginneries, which will help us export directly to India and cut off the intermediaries. We are also carrying back with us a lot of best work practices seen in the various clusters and will implement the same in our industry”, he added.

“Quality of cotton from Uganda, Malawi and Benin is very good, however, Indian spinners have complained of contamination. Once the issues are sorted out, I foresee that within a few months time, cotton import volumes will increase and African cotton producers will be able to directly export cotton to India”, informs Milan Sharma.  

“Indian spinners are also planning to visit these African countries to have a firsthand look of the cotton industry in Africa and we hope to increase cooperation between these countries and India by hosting another African delegation in a few months time”, Milan concludes by saying. 

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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