Bangladesh spends Tk 35,000 cr for importing cotton
CDB targets 20-time production hike in 10-yrs
Mahfuz Emran: The import-based cotton use in textile and apparels sector is the main barrier for Bangladesh. Almost 97 percent of cotton have to import in Bangladesh for mitigating the present demand. But the Cotton Development Board (CDB) has planned to increase 20 times production hike in 10 years.
The country’s main export product is apparels and textiles. Extensive employment has been created in this sector with huge foreign exchange earnings. However, there are various problems in this sector of most exports. Import dependence is one of the major obstacles in this sector, especially for yarn. Cotton is required for making yarn, almost all of which has to be imported from outside the country. It has to spend about Tk 35,000 crore every year. Cotton production in the country is less than 2 percent of the demand.
At present there is a demand of about 75 lakh bales of cotton per year in Bangladesh. In contrast, the country is producing only one lakh 6 thousand bales, which can’t meet even two percent of the demand. Due to this, more than 6 million bales of cotton have to be imported from abroad every year to meet the deficit. So that the expenditure is about Tk 35,000 crore.
Meanwhile, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has forecast that the demand for cotton in Bangladesh will increase further this year (2022). According to the latest report of the company, domestic consumption of cotton in Bangladesh will increase in the current financial year. Demand for this specialty has grown significantly as more and more international garment retailers and brands are shifting their work orders from other countries to Bangladesh.
The US agency predicts that this year, Bangladeshi mills and spinners will use 610,000 bales of cotton, which is 3.52 percent more than the previous year.
In such a situation, the data of the Cotton Development Board (CDB) says that in the fiscal year 2020-21, cotton has been cultivated in 44,000 hectares of land in the country. At that time the production of cotton was one lakh 6 thousand 26 bales.
However, the CDB is reporting an increase in cotton production every year. According to the agency, the country’s cotton production in the 2015-16 fiscal year was one lakh 53 thousand bales, which has increased by 23 thousand bales in the last five years. The company is moving ahead with a target of 2 million bales of cotton production by 2041 to reduce import dependence. Production in the country is increasing due to the recent innovation and cultivation of hybrid varieties of cotton by the Cotton Development Board.
Additional Director of the CDB said Md. Fakhr Alam Ibn Tabib told that due to bad weather and scarcity of land, the production of cotton is not going to increase more than the demand. Even then the production in the country is gradually increasing. Attempts are being made to increase production 10 times in the next 20 years.
“While the average production of cotton per hectare in Bangladesh is a little over 7 bales, the production in other cotton producing countries of the world is above 10 bales.”
Due to the shortfall in production compared to the demand, huge amount of cotton has to be imported every year. In the 2019-20 financial year, 61 lakh bales of cotton had to be imported. Although no definite information was available for the fiscal year 2020-21, the amount is more than 6 million bales due to the good order of the garment industry, said the concerned.
According to the statistics, in the fiscal year 2019-20, 19 per cent of the total cotton imported into the country was from India, 13 per cent from Mali, 12 per cent from the United States and 10 per cent from Brazil and Benin. The rest of the cotton is imported from some other countries. Meanwhile, in the fiscal year 2020-21, only 32 percent of cotton came from India. It is followed by Brazil (15%), Benin (12%) and the United States (9%).
Under such circumstances, Bangladesh has become the second largest importer of cotton in the world. As the readymade garment industry is particularly dependent on cotton imports, Bangladesh ranks second only to China in terms of imports.
More than 84 percent of readymade garments exported from Bangladesh are made of cotton. But in this case the global picture is completely different. Overall, 7 percent of the world’s readymade garments are hand-knitted.
Due to lack of supply of cotton and demand for hand-knitted garments, Bangladesh is also moving in that direction. Former president of the Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and chairman of the Sterling Group Siddiqur Rahman told that we do not have the capacity to produce so much cotton. There is no land. Even then, if it could be increased as much as possible, it would be a great benefit to the garment sector.
He said that because of this (less supply of cotton) demand-price is better so we have to go for manmade (hand woven) clothes. The future of cotton clothing is not good now.
The ability to spin cotton in Bangladesh is in a very good condition. Local spinners are able to supply 95 per cent of the yarn in the knitting sector and 40 per cent in the oven sector. The annual consumption of yarn and cloth in the country is about 950,000 tons and 630 crore meters.
At present there are 433 yarn factories and 726 textile factories in Bangladesh are in operation. There are also 19 synthetic spinning mills and eight acrylic spinning mills.
According to the Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA), the country’s annual yarn spinning and textile production capacity is 3.3 billion kg. Bangladesh has the capacity to use 11.5 million bales of unrefined cotton annually.
BTMA vice-president Fazlul Haque told that the demand for cloth has increased in other parts of the world as the situation in Corona is improving. As a result, local mill owners have increased their capacity. This will increase the demand for cotton this year.Cotton is cultivated in more than 75 countries of the world. India, China, United States, Pakistan and Brazil are among the countries representing cotton production.
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