India’s woollen industry is facing distress with decline in exports of woollen yarn, fabirc and made-ups by 48 per cent and woollen garments by nine per cent in the first quarter of the current financial year, due to fall in demand for woollen products and prices of raw materials increasing, according to the Wool & Woolen Export Promotion Council.
Wool production and consumption in India is largely import-dependent for finer quality wool used in garments and shwals, where Australia and surrounding regions are among the leading suppliers. While domestically produced wool is used for blankets and rugs.
The Kashmir unrest has played a part because demand for making high quality products comes from the Valley, which has been hampered lately, impacting exports.
Market leaders like Oswal Woollen Mills and Raymond have seen prices rising in pure wool segments and anticipate a price rise in the pure wool segment as substitute for Australian Merino wool is not available. Blending of woollen with synthetic fibre is also being mulled by companies but this is feasible only in select categories of yarn and fabrics.
Ram Bhatnagar, vice-president of Raymond said the company recently launched innovative woollen fabrics. Such products currently form seven-eight percent of the total product basket and the company hopes to make it a growth driver for both domestic and export markets.
“The discussions are on with the textiles ministry for revival of woollen textiles industry. The industry has proposed to the ministry to abolish import duty on wool, customs duty on machines and machinery parts required for upgradation and increase in duty-drawback rates,” Sushil Kaura, chairman of Wool & Woolen Export Promotion Council said.