Mali produces long staple cotton and only 5 percent of it is processed in that country and the rest is exported. Recently about 20 percent of Maliâ€™s cotton is consumed by India, said Niankoro Yeah Samake, Maliâ€™s Ambassador in India.
Mali, which produces eight lakh tonnes of cotton a year, is looking at direct exports of cotton to the Indian textile industry. 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 nationâ€™s cotton.
The diplomat said that he is 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 in India.
They are also looking at working with the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University to improve the yield and quality of cotton. They plan to sign an agreement with the university soon.
Maliâ€™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.
Maliâ€™s government is also offering incentives for investments in the textile sector and there are opportunities for joint ventures too.
Currently, there are no investments from the Indian textile sector in that country. They 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.
Therefore, those who start textile production in Mali will have duty-free access to the U.S. and some of the European markets too. 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.
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