Trends in Indian Cotton

Getting back with an edge in the global market

Business & Politics

July 25, 2017

/ By / New Delhi



Various international clothing brands like Gap, H&M, Levi Strauss, Marks & Spencer, Nike, Reebok and Tommy Hilfiger, import Indian textile products

Various international clothing brands like Gap, H&M, Levi Strauss, Marks & Spencer, Nike, Reebok and Tommy Hilfiger, import Indian textile products

Without being affected by inconsistent weather conditions, the cotton sector is assertive of a 12 pc increase in production during 2017-18. And with the Indian textile industry estimating cotton production at 380 million bales against 340 million bales last year, the domestic and international cotton yarn demand has also revived.

Since the Indian textile industry is primarily cotton-centric, the presence of the fibre is dominant in the Indian economy. India is among the largest producers and exporters of cotton with the textile industry contributing approximately four pc to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), 14 pc to industrial production and 15 pc to total export earnings.

The export of raw cotton from India has witnessed a significant increase in past years, along with decreased cotton imports into the nation. The country is now the second largest textile and clothing exporter in the world, contributing around 5 pc to the global textile and clothing trade. So much so, various international clothing brands including Gap, H&M, Levi Strauss, Marks & Spencer, Nike, Reebok and Tommy Hilfiger, among others, import Indian textile products.

And as the Chinese cotton auction started at a 25 pc premium over the prevailing fibre rate in India, Indian exporters are holding high hopes on a revival in cotton yarn exports.

During the last 16 years, area of cotton production has doubled with about 10 million farmers producing cotton in India. Without being affected by the inconsistent weather conditions, the cotton sector is assertive of a 12 pc increase in production during 2017-18. The Indian textile industry is also estimating cotton production at 380 million bales against 340 million bales produced last year.

“We expect India’s 2017-18 cotton production to be more by about 10 pc to 12 pc this year. It may hit 380 million bales from 340 million”, said Sandeep Bajoria, chairman, All India Cottonseed Crushers’ Association, according to an Indian daily.

However, though the country produces good quality cotton, it is sold at a discounted price because of unwanted constituents and contaminants. Thus, during the Textiles India 2017 meet in Gujarat earlier this month, ways to popularise aspects of environment-friendly cotton based textiles, threats that cotton sector faces from other fibers, improving per hectare yields of cotton, and reducing contamination, were discussed along with the importance of using biotech and better irrigation and mechanisation in the textile industry.

For the cotton industry to regain its edge, grouping of cotton cultivars based on quality is essential to permit cultivars to grow cotton based on economic regions. Also, the concept of group-farming for uniform collection of cotton would also be helpful via reducing the strain on logistics in the cotton value chain. “India is emerging as a favourable destination for Latin American countries as they want to reduce their dependence on Chinese markets for imports and are looking towards diversifying their markets,” said R Vishwanathan, marketing consultant, former Indian Ambassador.

During April–December 2016, India’s cotton yarn exports slumped by 12 pc to 872.19 million kg from 987.21 million kg in the corresponding period last year. However, cotton yarn exports from India rose by a marginal 4.29 pc at 1,307.11 million kg for the financial year 2015-16 from 1,253.33 million kg for the previous year.

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