This durable, versatile and naturally organic fabric is made from the white, fluffy fibres around the seeds of cotton plants. As a crop resistant to climatic changes, it can be planted in dry and arid zones. Cotton occupies just 2.1% of the world’s arable land, yet it meets 27% of the world’s textile needs. Almost nothing from cotton is wasted. It is used in textiles, animal feed, edible oils, cosmetics or fuel, among other uses.
World Cotton Day, an idea that started thanks to the “Cotton Four”
During 2 consecutive years, the date offered an opportunity to share knowledge and showcase cotton-related activities.
Now that the United Nations has officially recognized this World Cotton Day, this great opportunity creates awareness of the need of market access for cotton and cotton-related products from least developed countries, fosters sustainable trade policies and enables developing countries to benefit more from every step of the cotton value chain.
UN agencies have worked years towards this mission. For instance, the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) have helped C-4 to optimize production and improve local processing capacity, as well as to discuss the trade reforms needed to address high trade barriers and inequalities for cotton producers in developing countries. These efforts date back to 2003 through the Cotton Initiative.
Another UN agency, FAO, has long offered developing countries technical and policy support for boosting productivity and creating more opportunities in the cotton value chain. As an example, the +Cotton project, a cooperation initiative with Brazil (another leader in the industry) that helps Latin American producers to introduce innovative farming methods.
Let’s keep working on offering the assistance to the cotton sector in developing countries to keep increasing productivity, investment and bring innovation and sustainable standards to increase the benefits of the cotton sector worldwide.
Did you know?
A single tonne of cotton provides year-round employment for 5 people on average, often in some of the most impoverished regions.
Cotton-based filaments are appealing to 3D printers because they conduct heat well; become stronger when wet; and are more scalable than materials like wood.
In addition to its fibre used in textiles and apparel, food products can be derived from cotton, such as edible oil and animal feed from the seed.
María Rosa Farroñán, Mochica indigenous cotton farmer and artisan shares her experience cultivating and spinning Peruvian native cotton fiber.