There is a striking gap between the supply and demand of cotton in Bangladesh
Cotton is a necessary raw material for maintaining Bangladesh’s current flow of garments export. However, although the demand of cotton is steadily increasing, there is hardly any supply from within the country.
According to data from the Department of Agriculture, in the list of consumer countries for cotton, Bangladesh comes in at fourth place. Thanks to Bangladesh’s ever-expanding garments industry, the country needs access to massive amounts of cotton every year.
In 2016, Bangladesh’s demand for cotton was 6.81m bales. In 2017 it grew to 7.51m bales. By 2018, the demand grew to 8m bales. There is a striking gap between the supply and demand of cotton in the country. In 2018, Bangladesh produced only 150,000 bales of cotton.
Even though a substantial amount of cotton is required to run its flourishing export sector, Bangladesh needs to import over 98% of the cotton needed, as less than 2% is supplied from within the country.
Cotton research, training and seed multiplication farm, in Sreepur, Gazipur, was established in 1984 by the government. This center has been encouraging farmers to take up cotton farming since it is such a profitable crop. However, farmers are not interested, due to the cultivation of cotton being a lengthier process compared to other crops.
A senior scientific officer of the research center, Khaleduzzaman, said: “There is a lack of researchers in the cotton sector of Bangladesh. If we could raise awareness about the benefits of cotton farming, there will be more people interested in this sector.”
Currently, land in 35 districts of Bangladesh are suitable for cotton farming. Scientists in Bangladesh have given farmers 17 types of high quality cotton to farm.
Even though there are many hindrances regarding cotton production, Bangladesh has avenues to overcome them.