In view of expanding garment industry in Bangladesh, the largest cotton importing country in the world, should look towards African nations as sources of raw cotton. Currently, Bangladesh imports majority of its cotton requirements (more than half) from India.
Sourcing raw cotton from African countries could be a highly suitable and cost-effective alternative, this was stated by Bangladeshi Finance Minister AMA Muhith during African-Asian Cotton B2B Meeting held in Dhaka on Sunday. Bangladesh spends around US $ 3 billion to import cotton every year.
Since Bangladesh expects that garment industry will lead their export sector for another 20-25 years so demand for cotton in the local market is going to stay.
Bangladesh currently grows around 180,000 bales of cotton a year, which is just 1.0 per cent of the annual requirement. However, the local producers have a target to meet 10 per cent of the demand by the end of 2025.
The Finance Minister was not quite optimistic about the prospect of local cotton due to land shortage. “Local cotton farmers are unlikely to be able to meet the bulk of the huge demand for cotton due to land shortage,” he said, adding, “At the same time, the rising demand for chemical and other fibre materials as a substitute for cotton is also not helping the local cotton industry.”