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Tuesday, October 6, 2020 11:06:02 PM
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World Cotton Day Pragmatic Steps Needed To Progress

Dr. Md. Tasdiqur Rahman

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Today is the World Cotton Day being observed globally with a befitting manner. The Day provides a common platform to the international community and the private sector to share knowledge and showcase cotton related activities and products. World Cotton Day will host events that give exposure to the cotton farmers, processors, researchers and businesses.
Stakeholders from the global cotton community will come together to educate target audiences on the many advantages of cotton from its qualities as a natural fiber to the benefits people obtain from its production, transformation, trade and consumption around the World. World Cotton Day is an opportunity to show the positive impact that cotton will continue to have in the future and convince the international community to join the celebration!
Objectives of World Cotton Day 2020 is to increase preference and demand for cotton and educate key audiences about the benefits and value of cotton, generate positive media coverage for cotton around the world, gain endorsements from government representatives of important cotton countries, engage WTO and UN and have World Cotton Day added to official UN calendar, recruit brands and retailers to promote cotton in their stores or on their websites, be self-funding and create events in multiple countries around the world celebrating World Cotton Day
Bangladesh Cotton Development Board wishes to celebrate 'World Cotton Day - 2020' officially dedicating the day to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. The Board will arrange virtual webinar, workshop with national and International cotton experts, government and non government officials, NGOs, cotton producer, spinner, retailer and arrange human chain, publish magazine, posters etc.
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman established Cotton Development Board in 1972 for expansion and improvement of cotton cultivation in the country after Liberation War. Before that total raw cotton was imported from West Pakistan. In 1973 Father of the Nation backed 325 farmers from Pakistan and settled them in Ranisankail, Thakurgaon with 796 acres of land for cotton cultivation. After 15 August 1975 this program was closed and those lands were redistributed to others. As a result cotton production has been remained closed since then. After 21 years later, Bangabandhu's daughter Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has given two big projects of Tk. 217.05 crore for the Board including establishment of a Cotton Building in the capital which is under construction.
Agriculture Minister Dr. Md. Abdur Razzak, MP on 19 September' 2020 as chief guest unveiled the foundation stone of the Cotton Development Board's own building namely 'Tula Bhaban' at Khamarbari Sarak, Farmgate, Dhaka. Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture was present as special guest and Dr. Md. Farid Uddin, Executive Director, Cotton Development Board presided the ceremony.
Cotton production is noticeably increasing in the country during the last ten fiscal years. In 2009-10, the cotton lint production was 70,000 bales; now in the 2019-20 the production reached 177887 bales.
The cotton extension wing is providing service by CDB (HQ), four Regional Offices, Thirteen Zonal Offices, 195 Unit offices. On the other hand, the cotton research wing is working through 5 (five) research centres. CDB has showed promising successes from the establishment. Both extension and research wings are working simultaneously for improving cotton cultivation and quality improvement of fibre. Some of the successes of CDB are: cotton lint production increased up to 150% in last ten years; farmers are becoming interested to cultivate cotton; 20 varieties (19 HYVs and 1 Hybrid variety); 29 cotton cultivation technologies.
From the very beginning, the textile industry is facing lots of challenges. Many of those challenges have been overcome. But still there are some challenges for textile sector. Some of them are - coronavirus, climate impact, lack to proper monitoring, demand supply gap of raw cotton, subsidy removal from textile sector - GSP cancelled by USA and lack of skilled man power. Though the production of cotton has increased at a noticeable rate, still there is a huge shortage compared to its demand.
Cotton production in Bangladesh is frequently facing some problems such as-Lack of positive attitude of planners, long duration, competitive land, competitive with other high value crops, climate change, especially erratic rainfall, price volatility and insect pest. To overcome the above challenges Bangladesh government has taken necessary steps such as strengthening the Cotton Development Board, increasing infrastructure development, creating an environment-friendly textile sector, ensuring wages in time for garments employees etc. Besides this, CDB will need expansion of cotton growing areas, reorganizing CDB, positive attitude of planners, provide price subsidy to cotton farmers, provide government loan as a special crops.

(Dr. Tasdiqur is Deputy Director, Cotton Development Board, and General Secretary, KIB, Dhaka Metropolitan. Email: mdtasdiqur@yahoo.com)

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