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Organic cotton harvest second largest on record

The report reveals that 222,134 farmers grew 239,787 metric tons of organic cotton globally – slightly less than the record harvest in 2009/10 just before the financial crash prompted a dramatic decline.

Organic cotton was grown on 418,935 hectares of land in 19 countries in 2018/19. And another 55,833 hectares of cotton-growing land were in the process of being converted to organic production.

The 2020 report also includes insights from industry professionals about current projects, challenges and visions for the organic cotton sector, with a particular focus on the dual threats of COVID-19 and climate change.

Textile Exchange managing director La Rhea Pepper, a life-long organic cotton farmer, said: “Organic farming is a way of living in harmony with the land and is a way to honour life – life in the soil for the farm, for the family, for the community, and ultimately for the world.

“In times like the COVID-19 pandemic, we are reminded just how connected we are to each other – we are an ecosystem, and what we do impacts the whole.”
Textile Exchange, which works to accelerate sustainable practices in the textile value chain, said the number of growers and companies investing in meeting globally recognised, credible, third-party standards on organic cotton had also increased.

Facilities certified to the Organic Content Standard (OCS) grew by 48 per cent, while those meeting the requirements of the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) grew by 35 per cent.

The 2020 report showed that 97 per cent of global organic cotton was produced in seven countries in 2018/19: India (51 per cent), China (17 per cent), Kyrgyzstan (10 per cent), Turkey (10 per cent), Tajikistan (five per cent), Tanzania (two per cent), and the USA (two per cent).

Of the 55,833 hectares of land in-conversion to organic, India and Pakistan led the way, followed by Turkey, Greece, and Tajikistan.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, organic cotton production was expected to grow by a further 10 per cent in 2019/20. However, Textile Exchange expects the global crisis will impact on the harvest.

Original source: Ecotextile News, 12-08-2020