The CDB hopes to produce 2.5 lakh bales of cotton by 2021, which would meet nearly 5-7 percent of the annual demand for the fiber in Bangladesh.
The Cotton Development Board (CDB) is pursuing a policy to form a Tk. 5cr fund to provide cotton farmers to encourage more people to produce the fiber.
Bangladesh government targets to raise cotton yield, as the local spinners and yarn producers are to spend billions of dollars to import the white fiber to produce garment items.
Md. Akhtaruzzaman, Deputy Director of CDB said, “We have a target to expand the cotton cultivation area to 55,000 hectares from 43,500 hectares now in the next five years and we will also use hybrid seeds to double the production by this time.”
Right now the cotton cultivation areas are in Jashore, Rangpur, Dinajpur, Rajshahi, Gazipur and Mymensingh but the board is also looking for new cotton farming lands in the hilly and char areas in different districts.
Currently, yield per hectare stands at 1.5 tones and it would go up to 3-3.5 tones if hybrid seeds are used, he added.
Last Fiscal Year (FY), the country produced 1.65 lakh bales of cotton, which could meet less than 3 percent of the annual demand of 10 million bales. At present, Bangladesh imports $3 billion worth of cotton a year.
Last fiscal year, the country imported 7.1 million bales of cotton, meeting 97 percent of the demand of the country’s more than 440 spinning mills where one bale equals 282 kilograms.
Mehdi Ali, President of the Bangladesh Cotton Association, is hopeful that one day the local cotton will meet at least 15 percent of the demand.
“I am hopeful because some major seed companies are making new investments to grow cotton,” he said.
He further added that we need our own cotton as we can’t depend on foreign cotton always.