Sixteen-member delegation meets members of the Indian Cotton Federation

Members of an African delegation have urged the cotton traders and textile mill owners here to assist them in developing cotton trade from their countries.

A 16-member delegation including Government officials and private players in cotton and textile sectors from six African countries met the members of the Indian Cotton Federation here on Tuesday.

The delegates are visiting some of the textile clusters in India, including Tirupur and Coimbatore, and having a meeting with the textile industry in New Delhi.

Vice-presidents of the Indian Cotton Federation K.N. Viswanathan and P. Nataraj told the delegates that textile mills in Coimbatore region are sourcing substantial volume of cotton from Africa. However, it is through international merchants and traders and they are interested in buying cotton directly from the African farmers and traders.

Indian trade and industry will be interested in investing in Africa and buying cotton from the African nations. Textile mills in Coimbatore region need more than 10 million bales of cotton a year and they buy most of it from Gujarat now. In the case of African cotton, there were issues such as the time taken for delivery, contamination and shade variation.

The shipments need to be regular and the infrastructure problems should be sorted out.

They are willing to assist the African sector. However, they need to know more about the volume of production in each country, the marketing season, Government norms, taxation, and security. This is the fourth African cotton delegation to Coimbatore in the last three months.

Milan Sharma, head-Africa Initiatives of IL&FS Cluster Development Initiative, told presspersons that the visit is organised as part of the Central Government’s Cotton Technical Assistance Programme for Africa.

The IL & FS is the programme manager for the project that aims at capacity building and technology transfer for development of the cotton sector in seven African countries.

Project

The project is on till 2015. It includes establishing a knowledge cluster in Benin, bio pesticide laboratory in Uganda, and skill development schools in Nigeria and Malawi. These will be in association with agencies such as the Central Institute for Research on Cotton Technology and the Directorate of Cotton Development. The programme has been extended for trade co-operation. An Indian delegation will visit the African countries this year, Ms. Sharma said.

Exposure

The visit is to give an exposure and create awareness on the cluster concept.

The delegates were from Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Nigeria, Uganda, and Malawi. They explained about cotton cultivation in their countries, facilities available and steps taken to sell cotton directly to buyers in countries such as India.

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