A 16-member delegation from Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Nigeria, Uganda, and Malawi including Government officials and private players in cotton and textile sectors were in Coimbatore to meet the members of Indian Cotton Federation in Coimbatore on Tuesday. The delegation is looking for assistance from Coimbatore cotton traders and textile mill owners to develop cotton trade. In this concern, they explicated about cotton cultivation in their countries, facilities available and steps taken to sell cotton directly to buyers in countries such as India.
During the meeting Vice-presidents of the Indian Cotton Federation K.N. Viswanathan and P. Nataraj enlightened the delegates on the textile mills in Coimbatore. He said that the region is sourcing substantial volume of cotton from Africa but through international merchants and traders. However, they are interested in buying cotton directly from the African farmers and traders as Coimbatore textile mills region required more than 10 million bales of cotton a year and most of it is bought from Gujarat now.
Indian trade and industry have also shown interest to invest in Africa and buying cotton from the African nations. But, there are issues such as the time taken for delivery, contamination and shade variation. The shipments need to be regular and the infrastructure problems need to be sorted out.
The Coimbatore cotton industryare willing to give complete assistance to the African sector and hence 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 said the visit is organized as part of the Central Governmentâ€™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.
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 also be visiting the African countries this year. The visit is to give an exposure and create awareness on the cluster concept.
The delegates will be visiting some of the textile clusters in India, including Tirupur and Coimbatore, and having a meeting with the textile industry in New Delhi.
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