Global organic cotton production was down by 21 per cent in 2012-13 season. The reason being uncertainty of business, uncertainty of demand, and cash flow challenges. Prices for food crops (such as soya, sugarcane and wheat) are simultaneously becoming more attractive and therefore less risky for farmers than cotton.
In organic cotton production, India remains by far the largest producer, with 73.5 per cent of global production. China, where production has grown by 27 per cent, has now replaced Turkey as the number two producer. Tanzania remains the largest producer in Africa, with 5.9 per cent of production. The US has 1.76 per cent, while all other producing countries are below one per cent.
Cotton makes up 50 per cent of the world’s fiber needs, but the majority of it is grown with toxic chemicals. Conventional cotton production uses a large amount of water. Organic cotton is grown without the use of toxic pesticides or fertilizers. Methods such as beneficial insect releases, strip cutting of alfalfa and new weeding machinery help reduce the environmental impact of cotton crops.
Besides helping the environment, there are other benefits from organic cotton products. Working environments are better for those on farms and small-scale farmers save money by not having to buy large amounts of pesticides.