An eight-member delegation representing the Australian Cotton Shippersâ€™ Association held meetings in Ludhiana, Mumbai, and Coimbatore between February 27 and March 3 to promote and enhance use of Australian cotton, said Matthew Bradd, chairman of Australian Cotton Shippersâ€™ Association. Australia, which is globally the fifth largest exporter of cotton, is looking at India to emerge as a consistent and major buyer of its commodity.
India is a big market for cotton and spinners in India and they have had good experience with Australian cotton, he said.
Australia has nearly 1,200 cotton growers and can supply even small quantities of cotton to India. China purchased over 30% of Australiaâ€™s cotton production last year. However, this was lower than its usual purchase.
According to Hamish McIntyre, vice-chairman of Cotton Australia and a member of the eight-member delegation, India used to purchase 5% to 7% of cotton produced in Australia every year. In 2016, it shot up to nearly 23 %. This was mainly because of the drop in production in India last year.
Indian textile mills can use Australian cotton as a blend to produce high value garments. The area under cotton and production was increasing in Australia.
K.N. Viswanathan, vice-president of Indian Cotton Federation, said that Australia cotton is known for its quality and strength. However, its production was limited until last year. India is the largest producer and consumer of cotton globally. But, Indiaâ€™s imports are also more to meet the need for long staple cotton.
At present, Australian cotton and Indian cotton prices seem to be almost at par. For Indian spinners, Australian cotton can be an option, with failure of monsoon in many places this year where long staple cotton is grown.
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