World production of organic cotton fell by 35 percent – from 241,697 metric tonnes in 2010/11 to 151,079 this year – according to the 6th ‘Farm & Fiber Report’ by Textile Exchange. This is the biggest decline since Textile Exchange began producing these reports and represents a major departure from the trend of previous years when production climbed continuously with a double-digit rate of growth.
Drastic declines in India
”We are seeing most of the production decline occurring in India – where almost 70 percent of our organic cotton is grown”, says La Rhea Pepper, Managing Director of Textile Exchange. “This fall aof around 47 percent will obviously have a serious impact on the amount of organic cotton available to brands and retailers with organic cotton collections and without formal partnerships”, adds Pepper. According to the Report, the development in India and a drought in the USA are the primary reasons for the worldwide decline in production. Additionally, other concepts for ‘sustainable’ cotton are springing up alongside organic cotton whereby they do not take account of all of the strict regulations applying to organic cotton. Instead, they involve systems for making conventional cotton more environmentally friendly.
Forecast: 5 percent less organic cotton next year
Although the quantities of organic cotton produced are declining, La Rhea Pepper states unequivocally that all producers with large-scale organic cotton programmes have further increased their capacity and commitment. Nevertheless, the outlook for the coming year is not very bright. The US organisation expects production to fall by another five percent compared to this year.
Farm & Fiber Report 2011 can be ordered from www.textileexchange.org.