The government has taken up a Tk 105 crore project to increase production of raw cotton, only 3 percent of which is now collected from local producers.
The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council yesterday approved the Extended Cotton Farming Project Phase-1 through which an additional 7 lakh bales of cotton will be produced a year.
Bangladesh produces only 1 lakh bales of cotton, which meets only 2-3 percent of the garment industry's demand.
Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said the additional production will be ensured by planned cotton farming in 35 upazilas under 10 districts.
At present, the government has to spend around $4.5 billion a year to import cotton, he said.
The country will be able to meet 30 percent of its demand for cotton if the project is implemented to the full, according to the planning ministry proposal.
Under the project, which is expected to be completed by 2018, cotton will be produced in saline-prone areas of the southern region, char areas, plain lands between two hills.
The project aims to supply high quality seeds to farmers and arrange motivational tours and exchange visits to different countries for selected farmers.
The farmers will also be provided with high quality seeds, fertiliser, irrigation and pesticide for cultivating 660 hectares of land free of cost.
The Ecnec meeting also approved World Bank-funded Shiddhirganj-Maniknagar 230KV transmission line (first revised) project.