Published:  12:59 AM, 17 March 2020

Bangabandhu's thought on Cotton: Import Substitution Industrialization to Export Oriented Industrialization

Dr. Md. Farid Uddin

During the liberation war the Pakistani force destroyed the industries, infrastructures, productions and supply chain of Bangladesh leaving the country in an awful situation. Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman started rebuilding the war-ravaged Bangladesh immediately after his return home from the Pakistan's jail.

One of his major steps was the revitalizing of the textile sector. Before independence of Bangladesh, the textile sector was primarily developed to replace import. After the independence, Bangladesh adopted export-oriented industrialization by focusing on the textile sector.

The main challenge remained in sourcing of cotton fiber.Before independence raw cotton was supplied from West Pakistan. After independence in Bangladesh textile industries faced acute shortage of raw cotton supply.

The situation was aggravated by the import limitation of cotton fiber from international market due to the shortage of foreign reserve in one hand and on the other hand, the cultivable land needed to be utilized for food crop production.

In this context, father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman has taken visionary and revolutionary step for cotton production in Bangladesh by establishing Cotton Development Board (CDB) in 1972 under the Ministry of Agriculture through a resolution that was also marked as the first government department established after independence.

Bangladesh was hurdled for a long period to become self sufficiency in food crop production that was achieved by the adaptation of appropriate agriculture policy and supportsgiven by thehonorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina who also paid proper attention in the development of textile sector by linking cotton farmer to the export oriented Readymade Garment (RMG) industry. With the support from thehonorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, CDB has implemented development projects for increasing the cotton production in Bangladesh.

The main focus of CDB is to expand cotton cultivation in the low productive areas like drought prone, saline, hill and char landsin Bangladesh without hampering the food production. For increasing the farmers' income, the main activities of CDB are research, extension, seed production, training and cotton marketing.

CDB has been conducting research in collaboration with national and international organization for the development of high yielding short duration variety, introduction of Bt cotton and for the development of climate stress tolerant cotton varieties.

Presently, CDB is implementing a collaborative project with Turkish Cotton Research Institute with the financial support from the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) under the Reverse Linkage Mechanism. In presence of honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) of this Bangladesh-Turkey-IsDB Reverse Linkage Project was signed between our respectable Finance Minister and IsDB President on 09 September 2018.

Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has made every effort to boost up export oriented textile sector for realization of the Bangabandhu's thought on Cotton that now a day's accounts for 84.21% of total export earnings.  

The writer is Executive Director,
Cotton Development Board

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