• Recommendations for LDC cotton exporters on increasing exports to Indonesia

    Chapter 6 - Market profiles - Indonesia 


    Quality and its consistency are the prime factor in increasing market share of cotton in Indonesia. If the share of cotton from Africa is to be increased from the present level of 18% of total consumption in Indonesia, the first step is to ensure good quality parameters similar to their counterparts from Australia and America, which are widely used in Asian countries. Further, consistency of quality should be ensured over all bales and all shipments.

    In general, quality parameters of cotton from different regions of Africa lie within a narrow range compared to cotton from other countries, where a wide range of cottons from short staple to extra long staple are available. African cottons are mostly confined to 30–40s ring spun mixings (not suitable for open end yarns), coarse count and super fine count ring yarns for 30–40s mixes with Australian Andy and American Fibermax cotton, which are widely used in Indonesia.

    African cottons suffer from external contamination in cotton bales that result in huge claims and complaints. Cotton from African regions is regarded as far inferior to the cottons from developed countries such as Australia and the United States in this regard. Other developing countries such as China and Brazil are regarded as better than Africa in this respect. Unfortunately, this heavy contamination of African cottons, which are otherwise comparable to Australian and American growths in basic quality characteristics, makes them less competitive in the Indonesian market.

    Improvement in fibre characteristics in terms of trash, honeydew, stickiness and contamination would help African cottons to remain competitive with cotton from other countries.

    Indonesian spinners suggest five other areas where improvements are needed to increase the market share of African cottons:

    • Instrument testing of cotton. African cottons are sold on types – generally national types – rather than on actual description. Present day end-users in the international market need actual description and instrument results, as available from developed countries such as the United States and Australia. Instrument test results are accurate and reliable, and eliminate subjectivity in grading and classing. If all bales are tested, and data is provided to everyone in the chain, instrument testing gives confidence to the end-users that the cotton bales are tested and classified properly. Instrument results enable spinners to efficiently use cotton for their specific end-uses at minimum price. Efficient use of cotton by spinners, in turn, would increase the demand for cotton. Further, instrument test results would help the seed breeders and growers to keep track of the quality record of different growths.
    • On-time shipments. It is important that all consignments reach end users on time. African cotton exports suffer from the lack of inland transportation facilities from gins to port, the lack of facilities at port and political instability.
    • Country damage. Quite often bales from African countries are found with country damage due to poor storing and handling. Water damage, soiling with red sand and dust, presence of oil, and black soiled bale surfaces and torn bale covers are some common features found in African cotton bales by Indonesian spinners.
    • Price competitiveness. It is important to keep prices competitive with those of cottons from other developing countries such as Brazil and India.
    • Spot buying facilities in Indonesia. To enhance consumption of African cotton in Indonesia, facilities for stocking various growths of African cotton could be provided to enable end-users in Indonesia to spot-buy.

    If the above quality and marketing issues are addressed, then there is ample scope to increase African cotton exports to Indonesia. 

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    Cotton Exporter's Guide

    Brochure - African cotton promotion
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