Over the last ten fiscal years, local cotton production had remarkably increased from 70,000 to 177,887 bales
State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam on Saturday said that Bangladesh and India could join hands to give stiff competition to others in the global textile sector, considering India's clout as a leading cotton exporter.
The State Minister was addressing the second Bangladesh-India Cotton Fest 2020 at a hotel in the capital, where Prime Minister's Adviser Salman F Rahman also attended as chief guest.
Shahriar said that over the last ten fiscal years, under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, cotton production had remarkably increased from 70,000 to 177,887 bales.
However, domestic production was still inadequate compared to yearly demand of around 8 million bales, he also said.
He said Bangladesh aimed to double its apparel exports over the next five years and laid emphasis on the importance of maintaining secure and quality cotton imports from its top supplier.
"We know that India produces cotton in diverse varieties--coarse to fine; short, long and extra-long staple; organic and colored cottons--making India a crucial player in the global cotton market," Shahriar said.
The state minister said cotton stood as a lifeline of Bangladesh's export economy.
As the second largest exporter of readymade garments, he said, Bangladesh is one of the top cotton importing nations.
"We need to import over 98% of the cotton required from nearly 42 countries resulting in 6.1 million bales of cotton imported in the FY 2019-20. Our exorbitant dependency on the cotton import now warrants a proper address in cotton production and sourcing," said the state minister.
More than 30 Indian companies participated at the fest.
"It will help to cast an impression on the visitors that India is ideally positioned to supply high quality cotton to Bangladesh at competitive prices, with lower costs of transportation and easier access to suppliers," said the State Minister.
President of Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) Sheikh Fazle Fahim, President, BTMA Mohammad Ali Khokon President, IBCCI Abdul Matlub Ahmad, President, ICAL (Indian Cotton Association Ltd) Mahesh Sharda, President, BCA (Bangladesh Cotton Association) Sultan Riaz Chowdhury were also present.
Bangladesh Cotton Association (BCA) jointly organized the second Bangladesh-India Cotton Festival 2020, in cooperation with Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA), Indian Cotton Association Ltd. (ICAL), India-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IBCCI).