LONDON: Organic
cotton weathered the global economic storm during the 2008-09 farming
season, albeit with challenges, according to a new report by Organic
Exchange (OE) documenting growth and challenges in the global organic
fiber sector released here on Tuesday. Production grew an impressive 20
percent over 2007-08 to 175,113 metric tons (802,599 bales) grown on
625,000 acres (253,000 hectares). Organic cotton now represents 0.76
percent of global cotton production.
to the fourth annual Organic Exchange Farm and Fiber Report 2009,
organic cotton was grown in 22 countries worldwide with the top ten
producer countries being led by India, and including (in order of rank)
Turkey, Syria, Tanzania, China, United States, Uganda, Peru, Egypt and
Burkina Faso. Approximately 220,000 farmers grew the fiber ..However,
the situation had been far from rosy. Despite major market players
sticking to their commitments to use organic cotton in their apparel
and home textile products, there simply wasnít the market for products
(organic or conventional) in general, given the global economic
downturn ..In addition, a number of farmers had planted vast
acreage of organic cotton on speculation and in response to what had
appeared to be a healthy, burgeoning marketplace. As a result, unsold
stocks which represent between 17 and 22 percent of production Some
30,000 to 35,000 tons (137,789 to 160,754 bales) of organic cotton has
yet to find buyers ..The report also said the global retail sales
of organic cotton and home textile products topped 3.2 billion US
dollars in 2008. “2008-09 was a year of challenges for the organic
cotton sector, but also one that highlights the need to improve
recordkeeping, forecasting, pricing, and communication systems and gain
more firm commitments and contracts,” noted Simon Ferrigno, OE Organic
Exchange ..Farm Development Team manager and lead author of the
report. Organic production is based on a system of farming that
maintains and replenishes soil fertility without the use of toxic and
persistent pesticides and fertilizers or genetically-modified seeds .