Unpredictable monsoon and a decline in cotton prices overseas have boosted cotton imports in India in the recent weeks.
Africa is one of the beneficiaries of increasing cotton imports by the country as the mills in the coastal textile hubs of south India are buying cotton from them due to its lower freight costs. The fibre is supplied in shiploads since the prospects of rapid increase in global supply has resulted in decline of cotton prices.
"Imports of cotton mainly from West Africa have increased because their prices are much cheaper than India's and the quality is also good," managing director of Shail Exports and former chairman of the Cotton Corp of India MB Lal told Reuters.
The data released by "The US Department of Agriculture" show that an increase in cotton output in the US could expand worldwide inventories to about 106 million 480-lb bales by the end of the US crop year, i.e., July 2015, reported Reuters.
Meanwhile, the Indian buyers will be forced to sign extended import contracts due to delayed sowing, which in turn will bring a delay in the arrival of new crops to the market.
"Imports may rise (further) if new season supplies get delayed or prices increase in the absence of supply," Arun Kumar Dalal, a trader in the main cotton growing state of Gujarat told Reuters.
The farmers in India depend on rainfall for the production of cotton. The erratic monsoon rains in India have delayed cotton sowing, raising concerns about production. India is among the largest cotton producers and a delay in its production often resulted in suicides of desperate farmers in the past.
Recently, a cotton farmer from Telangana had committed suicide as she ran into debt owing to crop loss. Meanwhile, Maharashtra topped the list of farmer suicides with 3,146 farmers ending their lives in the last one year.