Organic Cotton ‘Shows Signs of Stabilizing’

organic cotton production 2011-12

by | May 24, 2013

organic cotton production 2011-12Organic cotton farmers produced 138,813 metric tons of fiber in 2011-12, an 8 percent drop in production from the previous year, compared to a 37 percent drop in 2010-11, the Textile Exchange says.

In its 2011-12 Farm & Fiber Report, the Textile Exchange says half of the organic cotton-growing countries reported increased production. This indicate that the organic cotton market is beginning to stabilize after extreme growth from 2006-2010 and a big drop in 2011, the report says.

Another indication that the market is settling is that the total land area dedicated to organic cotton has remained fairly stable with only a 2.4 percent decrease from last year, the Textile Exchange says. This report says this could, in part, be attributed to an increased effort by brands to study their supply chains and seek out the most updated and vetted sourcing data.

Last year’s drought hurt US cotton growers, resulting in a 35.8 percent abandon rate, or nearly two-thirds of the planted crop, the report says. Despite the cotton area increasing about 25 percent, US production fell to 3.4 million metric tons in 2011-12, a 45 percent reduction in the organic cotton harvest for the year.

Droughts in Latin America (Paraguay and Brazil) also damaged production.

Syria, the country reported as the second biggest producer last year, fell off the ranking as civil unrest meant that production estimates were not available and there is currently no fiber for export.

The report shows huge production increases in Tanzania (153 percent growth) and Nicaragua (190 percent growth). Overall, Africa saw 103 percent growth from last year. India is the world’s biggest producer again this year, now five years straight. Some 74 percent of the world’s organic cotton comes from India. Half of the countries producing organic cotton saw an increase, including Turkey which ranks second.

More action is needed to increase the amount of brands and retailers that connect from the farm to the final product, the report says.

In November 2012, Textile Exchange hosted the first Organic Cotton Round Table at its global conference in Hong Kong. More than 90 farmers, manufacturers, brands, retailers and support organizations attended the inaugural event. The Textile Exchange says this group — open to the industry — will continue its work at the global conference in Turkey in November.

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