Once accounting for more than 50 per cent of Bangladesh’s total cotton imports, India apparently is losing the favourite tag from the former’s perspective as far as cotton is concerned.
Depending largely on overseas destinations to fulfil its cotton requirements, Bangladesh’s look India policy is now making way for Africa with African nations reportedly surpassing India to become the largest source of cotton for Bangladesh.
With Bangladeshi textile millers looking to reduce their dependency on a single source for raw materials, Africa is gaining precedence. Brazil is in the mix too! As per reports, the world’s largest importer of cotton in recent years has also been increasingly sourcing cotton from Brazil on quality assurance and lower price.
“India’s Shankar-6 variety cotton is quoted at 93-94 cents (a pound), while the same variety of Brazilian cotton is available at 89 cents,” stated President of Bangladesh Cotton Association Mehdi Ali speaking to the media.
It may be mentioned here that in the last year, East and West African countries accounted for 37.06 per cent of Bangladesh’s total cotton requirement thereby pushing down India’s share percentage to mere 11.35, which just a couple of years ago, was a whopping 60 per cent.
This is as per the data of the Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA).
“The low quality of the Indian cotton is the main reason behind the falling imports from the neighbouring country,” said Monsoor Ahmed, Secretary of the BTMA citing a major reason behind India’s declining share percentage while Mehdi Ali said that a section of Indian cotton traders also cannot maintain timely shipment and deliver the right quantity of cotton as per agreement.
On the other hand, as per a report, the Cotton Association of India (CAI) was reportedly planning to sign a memorandum of understanding with Bangladesh to enhance India’s cotton exports to the latter by 30 per cent from 20 lb shipped last year.
However, given the current scenario, what dividends would CAI’s move fetch is not very clear.
Further if mill owners of Bangladesh are to be believed, moisture content in Indian cotton vis-à-vis other countries is also very high, which makes it difficult to store Indian cotton in the warehouses for a long time.
Meanwhile, in an effort towards increasing self-sufficiency, Bangladesh’s Cotton Development Board is also planning to cultivate cotton in hilly and marshy areas along with the existing farming hubs in Dinajpur, Jessore, Mymensingh, Rangpur, Rajshahi, Gazipur, etc.