India Sourcing Network

India Best Alternative to China for Cotton in Light of the Xinjiang Cotton Controversy

India Best Alternative to China for Cotton in Light of the Xinjiang Cotton Controversy

If you are in the business of selling apparel, furnishings or other products made from cotton and source from China, now is the time to start exploring alternative markets such as India.


 The situation regarding cotton production in Xinjiang, a region in China, has been the subject of controversy and criticism in recent years. Xinjiang is a major producer of cotton, accounting for about 20% of the world’s supply.

There have been allegations of forced labor and human rights abuses in the cotton industry in Xinjiang according to the UN report. The Chinese government has been accused of using Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities as forced laborers in cotton fields and factories.

The situation remains controversial and complex, with ongoing debates about the role of international companies and governments in addressing human rights concerns in the region.

Numerous companies, including major global brands like Nike, H&M, and Adidas, have faced backlash for their alleged use of cotton sourced from Xinjiang. Some have publicly stated that they will no longer source cotton from the region.

The Chinese government denies the allegations of forced labor and human rights abuses and has pushed back against the criticism from Western countries and companies supporting the Xinjiang cotton ban. It has also launched its own campaigns to boycott and sanction companies that have spoken out against China fueling the Xinjiang cotton controversy.

Many people and companies are looking for alternate sourcing options due to the Xinjiang cotton situation and this has led to a growing movement to avoid using cotton sourced from the region. Since then, US bound exports from Xinjiang have dropped 64 percent.

Many global brands have announced that they will no longer source cotton from Xinjiang, and some have committed to using only sustainable and ethically sourced cotton in their products. This has led to an increased demand for cotton from other regions, such as India, the United States and Africa.

             India produces high quality cotton that is farmed using sustainable practices.

India, an alternate source

Now is the time to start finding alternative sourcing options and with India being one of the major cotton producers in the world, it is a great source for cotton as companies and consumers seek to avoid using cotton sourced from Xinjiang.

Overall, cotton is an important raw material for the Indian textile industry, and the country produces a wide range of cotton products using this versatile fiber, its also used to produce the best cotton sheets.

There are several key production states across the country that produce this fiber.

Some of the major cotton producing states in India include Gujarat, which is the largest producer of cotton in India, with a share of over 25% of the country’s total production.

This is followed by Maharashtra, which is the second largest cotton producing state in India, accounting for around 20% of the total production.

Other states include Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Punjab. Apart from these states, cotton is also grown in several other regions across the country, including Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Karnataka.

Cotton products made in India

Cotton is a versatile fibre that is used to produce a wide range of products, and India has a thriving textile industry that uses cotton to manufacture a variety of products. Some of the products that are made from cotton in India include:

  1. Clothing: Cotton is used extensively to make clothing in India. Cotton fabric is breathable, comfortable, and easy to care for, making it a popular choice for clothing for both casual and formal wear.
  2. Home textiles: Cotton is used to produce a wide range of home textiles, including bed sheets, pillowcases, towels, and curtains. Cotton is a soft and absorbent fibre that is well-suited for these applications.
  3. Industrial textiles: Cotton is also used to produce industrial textiles, including tarpaulins, canvas, and filter fabrics. These products are used in a variety of applications, from construction and transportation to agriculture and mining.
  4. Medical textiles: Cotton is used to produce a variety of medical textiles, including bandages, gauze, and surgical dressings. Cotton is hypoallergenic and gentle on the skin, making it well-suited for these applications.
  5. Fashion accessories: Cotton is used to produce a variety of fashion accessories, including bags, scarves, and hats. Cotton is a versatile fibre that can be woven or knitted to produce a range of textures and patterns.

India top producer of organic cotton

Organic cotton is grown using methods that do not involve the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, or genetically modified seeds. Instead, organic cotton is grown using natural methods such as crop rotation, composting, and the use of natural pest control methods.

India is the largest producer of organic cotton in the world, accounting for approximately 51% of global production. Turkey is the second-largest producer, with approximately 17% of global production, while China is the third-largest producer, with approximately 15% of global production.

Organic cotton fabrics production has been increasing in recent years as consumers and companies become more aware of the environmental and social impacts of conventional cotton production. There are many manufacturers in India that are GOTS-certified.

However, organic cotton still represents a relatively small percentage of the total cotton market, with conventional cotton accounting for the majority of global production.

                                                                                        India is the top producer of cotton in the world

India’s limitations

There are a number of factors that could influence whether India is able to fully replace Xinjiang as a supplier of cotton.

These include the quality of cotton due to weather and processing methods.

Can India produce enough to meet the demand from international buyers as much of its production is consumed domestically.

Cotton from India may be more expensive than cotton from Xinjiang, which could impact the affordability and profitability of products that use Indian cotton. Although consideration also needs to be given to the tariffs applied on products exported from China to the US.


Reach out to India Sourcing Network at info@indiasourcing.net if you need help sourcing cotton or other products.

Join us on the next India Sourcing Trip to meet with cotton apparel manufacturers and exporters in India.

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