Current exports are via foreign firms

Mali eyes direct India cotton trade

GMT 11:28 2017 Monday ,10 July

Sriyadithatextile - Mali eyes direct India cotton trade

West Aftrican (Mali) cotton

Mali, which produces eight lakh tonnes of cotton a year, is looking at direct exports of cotton to the Indian textile industry.

Niankoro Yeah Samake, Mali’s Ambassador in India, told here recently that about 20% of Mali’s cotton is consumed by India. However, most of the trade is through foreign companies. “So, there are opportunities to trade directly.” Currently, Europe and China are the biggest buyers of the West African nation’s cotton.

Mali produces long staple cotton and only 5% of it is processed in that country and the rest is exported. Mali’s government is offering incentives for investments in the textile sector and there are opportunities for joint ventures too.

“I am looking at taking textile and garment entrepreneurs from India to meet the Mali government representatives and bringing the CEO of the Mali cotton agency here,” the diplomat said. “We are also looking at working with the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University to improve the yield and quality of cotton. We plan to sign an agreement with the university soon,” he added.

Mali’s government agency buys cotton from all the farmers. Annual cotton production in Mali in the last two years increased from five lakh tonnes to eight lakh tonnes.

Currently, there are no investments from the Indian textile sector in that country. “We urge Indian textile entrepreneurs to invest there as it is duty-free and quota-free trade between the two nations, and Mali and the U.S. and some European countries too,” he said. Therefore, those who start textile production in Mali will have duty-free access to the U.S. and some of the European markets too, he said. In the short-term, Mali is looking at increasing trade with India in the cotton sector and in the long term it will look at other investments.

J. Thulasidharan, chairman of Indian Cotton Federation, said the price of Indian cotton goes up during the second half of the season and hence, importing cotton could be viable. On an average, about 10 lakh bales of cotton is imported from African countries annually.

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