Organic cotton in demand
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CTA. 1995. Organic cotton in demand. Spore 58. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/47120
Cotton grown organically without the use of pesticides is selling at higher prices than the conventionally grown fibre, and the demand is increasing every year. Over 10 000 tonnes are now being produced in South America, Egypt and India. Most of...
Cotton grown organically without the use of pesticides is selling at higher prices than the conventionally grown fibre, and the demand is increasing every year. Over 10 000 tonnes are now being produced in South America, Egypt and India. Most of the existing production comes from large farms but now there is an initiative to involve small-scale African farmers. In Senegal, the Pesticides Trust has begun a project to help small-scale cotton farmers to escape from the chemical treadmill. Some farmers were already aware of the hazards of using high amounts of chemical pesticides and wished to convert to organic methods, but they had to maintain farm income, or increase it. So the Trust is giving technical advice on making the conversion to pesticide-free production and is also able to give some financial help for the first year or two, when yields will be smaller. There its also interest now from cotton farmers in Mali and Burkina Faso to join the programme. Although the present production of organic cotton is a very small proportion of the total global production of 20 million tonnes, the market is getting larger because increasing numbers of consumers fear wearing clothing that may contain pesticides. However, the Trust knows that this market must be expanded further to attract more producers to convert to organic production. At the moment conversion is attractive as organic cotton has a 50'', to 100'' premium over fibre produced in the conventional way. At the end of 1994 two related events were organized to consolidate progress and to raise the profile of organic cotton. A conference was held in Hamburg, Germany, at which experiences and problems of production and marketing were discussed and this was followed by a study tour in Europe for participants to meet wholesalers of organic cotton and designers and retailers of cotton textiles. The impression gained from this tour was that there is a shortage of organic cotton fibre, yarn and fabrics and potential to produce and supply more. The Pesticides Trust Eurolink Business Centre 49 Effra Road London SW2 1BZ UK