Speakers came up with the observation at a seminar titled “Boosting Cotton Cultivation in North Bengal: Problem and Prospects” held at Diaz Hotel Seminar Hall, Uttara EPZ, Nilphamari.
The seminar was organised jointly by the Cotton Development Board (CDB), Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), Zerin Tex, RMG Chronicle and Nilphamari Chamber of Commerce and Industries (NCCI).
According to Bangladesh Cotton Development Board (BCDB), there are about 1,50,000 hectares of unused land in Barendra area in
North Bengal while 60,000 hectares are being used for tobacco cultivation.
“Bangladesh can produce nearly 2.0 million bales of cotton locally which can meet one third of the demand the country has for the apparel industry,” Md Farid Uddin, executive director, BCDB, said in his keynote presentation.
As the second largest consumer, Bangladesh consumes 61 lakh cotton bales, of which 1.5 lakh are produced locally.
“We would like to replace tobacco cultivation with that of cotton as the country has a huge demand for it.”
The cotton cultivation has no bad impact, which, on the other hand, exists in tobacco farming.
The reason why farming cotton in northern area is advantageous is its geographical feature, i.e. char area, and dry weather, plus congenial atmosphere to agroforestry, said Farid.
Urging farmers to cultivate cotton, the BCDB top brass said there is no risk selling cotton as its demand is very high.
“We have a litany of farmers and the government is providing financial support for them.”
Long growing period, high input cost, climate change impact, especially erratic rainfall, price volatility, lengthy return of investment, lack of grading system and dependency on a handful of private cotton-ginners are challenges towards boosting cotton cultivation.
Farmers present at the seminar urged the government to invent such a variety of cotton that takes shorter period of time to grow and harvest, or else initiatives will end up in failure.
The cotton development board is working on introducing a high-yield variety to bring benefits to the growers.
The discussants stressed the necessity for higher production of fibre which could add more value to the country’s ready-made garments.
In his address, Zerin Tex Chief Executive Officer Juber Alam said Bangladesh was once self-sufficient in cotton production as it produced the world best cotton, namely Muslin.
He urged CDB to search out local seeds to boost cotton production locally.
RMG Chronicle Editor Mohammad Ali was, among others, present at the seminar.