India has held monopoly over the global cotton market for more than 3000 years, from as early as 1500 B.C. to almost 1800 A.D. Cotton has been reported to be used as an exchange item in the barter economy during the ancient times. India has been a major exporter of cotton to the Eastern and European markets. The first successful cotton mill, named as Bombay Spinning and Weaving Company, was set up in India by KGN Daber in 1854. Ahmedabad rose as one of the prime cotton manufacturing localities in the world with the opening of Calico Mill and Shahpur Mill which later came to be known as the “Manchester of India”. The Indian Cotton Industry witnessed accelerated growth during the 1870s when the total number of mills rose to 47, out of which, more than 60% were situated in Mumbai. Some factors that led to the accelerated growth of this industry include the Swadeshi Movement and the World Wars.
By the end of 1945, 417 mills were established in the Indian subcontinent, and the production of more than 4,726 million yards of cotton cloth was observed. India, being majorly dependent on the Agricultural and Textile industry kept enhancing its cotton fiber and textile production capacity, which led to the production of 345 lakh bales in the 2016-17. The contribution of India in the total harvested cotton across the globe stood around 26%, leaving China behind as it contributed 21%. The major cotton export destinations of India include the US, China, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Vietnam and Thailand, among others. The demand of cotton exports from India keeps rising as various international brands keep striking deals with indigenous cotton producers, which allows them to source cotton at low prices. The Indian Cotton Industry gravitates towards apparel exports, which can be justified by the fact that India ended up contributing more than 51% to the overall exports of apparel during FY 18.
74% of the apparel that is being exported is made up of cotton. More statistics that point towards the booming cotton economy of India state that the total textile and clothing exports between April – October, 2018 were valued at around $ 21.95 billion. The raw cotton exports grew by 26.01% during this period as well, amounting up to $6,893.05 million, signifying improved farming practices and technological advancements. Some major brands that import from the Indian Cotton Industry include Tommy Hilfiger, Levi Strauss, Wal-mart, Nike, Reebok, and H&M among other globally well-known brands. India being the largest cotton producer in the world, accounts for a total of 38% cotton acreage over the globe, while being the second largest exporter after the USA.
The cotton Industry of India however has faced major setbacks since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. The demand of cotton went down to 11.0%, owing to the global restrictions imposed by governments all across the world, resulting in shutdown of many cotton mills. Cotton plantations have also been impacted owing to the Covid-19 restrictions all across India. However, cheaper Indian Cotton fibere has been estimated to boost the cotton exports for the current crop year by about 30%.The rising global prices have made the cheaper Indian fibere competitive, and statistics suggest that it can lift shipments to more than 65 lakh bales. Some surprising trends were observed within the Indian cotton market as well. India’s cotton export doubled in 2020 as compared to the previous year exports and its valuation went from Rs. 3,425 crores in 2019 between April and December to Rs. 7,044 crores during the same period in 2020. Cotton Export witnessed a rise of 127% in terms of volume as well, despite of the restrictions imposed by governments all across the world. The cotton consumption is also expected to rise up to 114 million bales, which is 13% more than what it was in the previous year. Therefore, it can be stated that the cotton Economy in India has been growing for decades and is set to make records, as labour-intensive techniques of farming and technological advancements make the process of growing cotton more efficient.
Cotton Monk with its passion in textile business is happy to be a player among the growing demand for textile products from India.
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