Turkey produces some of the best quality cotton in the world, but its production volume has been declining, said the head of the Home Textiles Industry and Business Association (TESİAD) in a written statement.

“Turkey produces one of the world’s highest quality cotton. Our cotton production must increase up to 4 million tons by 2023,” said TESİAD head Yaşar Küçükçalık.

He noted the country’s cotton production volume has seen a dramatic decline for the last 15 years and this has negatively affected home textiles production.

While Turkey’s annual cotton production was around 850,000 tons in 2002, this figure fell to around 550,000 tons in 2012 and  the country’s annual need is around 1.7 million tons.

The area of the country’s cotton plantation fields has shrunk by almost 50 percent over last decade.

“Turkey comes next after Australia in the average cotton field productivity in the world, although it has lagged quite behind Australia in terms of field volume and irrigation conditions. Despite this huge success of our producers and several subsidies by the Agriculture Ministry, our production has been declining. The industrialists who use locally-produced cotton should be supported and the quality of our cotton should be improved further,” Küçükçalık said.