Bangladesh, which grows about 180,000 bales (1 bale=218 kgs) of cotton in a year or 1 per cent of the annual demand, now aims to grow I million cotton bales by 2025. The country is now the biggest importer of cotton in the world and spends more than $3 billion on cotton imports annually, of which, India meets 50 per cent of the current cotton demand.
Speaking at a press conference, Mehdi Ali, general secretary of Bangladesh Cotton Association (BCA) said, “We have targeted to meet 10 per cent of our yearly demand from domestic cotton production by the end of 2025, by growing 180,000 bales.”
According to Ali, most farmers in various districts of Bangladesh have deserted tobacco cultivation in lieu of cotton, as cotton offers them better returns.
He shared the opinion that the Bangladesh cotton industry must stop relying on just one or two countries for cotton imports, as sometimes, there are challenges which importers have to face.
In response, Mohammad Ali Khokon, vice-president of Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA) informed that cotton imports from African countries have risen significantly in recent times, to reduce dependence on India.
“Bangladeshi spinners and cotton traders are now importing more than two million bales of cotton from various African countries like Burkina Faso, Benin, Chad, Lesotho and Sudan, with USA and Australia also becoming major sourcing destinations” he added.