Cotton - organic
Most of the cotton clothing and textiles we see in shops is extensively farmed using pesticides and herbicides. Almost 5% of the world's staple crop-growing area is covered by its cultivation which has been described as a 'sink' for 11% of the world's agro-chemicals. A new generation of initiatives and aid programmes now support organic cotton schemes in an attempt to move away from large mono crops, and they aim to promote the fair trade and treatment of people. They replenish and maintain soil fertility, reduce the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilisers, and build biologically diverse agriculture.
|Image: Cotton growing in Gujarat, India.|
In 2001, almost 6,000 tonnes of organic cotton was grown in 11 countries, according to a recent survey. Although this represents only 0.03% of worldwide cotton production, the figure is likely to be somewhat higher. Turkey and the United States are the leading growers of organic cotton, followed by India, Peru, Uganda, Egypt, Senegal and Tanzania. Fair trade marketing schemes and cooperatives often work with organic farmers and make sure they get a fair and secure market for their cotton.