At the end of May, Textile Exchange published the 2012 Organic Cotton Farm & Fiber Report. This year’s report once again builds upon the themes from our previous Farm & Fiber Reports and provides you with unique data, trends and analysis of organic cotton production. As with last year’s report, we have included annual snapshots of other cotton sustainability initiatives, including the Better Cotton Initiative, Fairtrade, and Cotton made in Africa, in order to give you the most comprehensive perspective on cotton agriculture
The report shows that global production of organic cotton is starting to stabilize. From 2006 to 2010 there were four years of rapid growth in organic. After last year’s significant drop, this year’s relative parity brings some relief. While the challenges of the current business model and seed security for many farmers is far from resolved, progress is being made, e.g. some regions are forecasting growth or developing new projects. Furthermore, new value chain models and seed programs are starting to provide fresh solutions.
Overall, production dropped by 8 percent from 151,079 mt to 138,813 mt mostly due to the loss of Syrian organic. Syria has been among the top three global producers for four years contributing approximately 10 percent to the world’s organic cotton supply. This loss was one of the biggest influencers in 2011-12 but is expected to be only temporary. Unlike last year where we experienced a significant drop in fibre production from India, this year’s relatively small decline suggests a more stable production base generally.
This year, we are offering this Report free of charge to everyone because we feel this information is highly useful and should be widely available. To take advantage of this opportunity, click here to access the report.
The Union of Concerned Scientists has emphasized the urgent importance of agro-ecological solutions to address the dismal state of U.S. agriculture which it describes as a "dead end". Citing how the country's industrial food production system has been detrimental to air, water, soil and human health, it says that agro-ecological farming or what it calls "healthy farms" are the way forward for sustainable food production and will be far better for the people, the environment and the economy
It provides a clear description of what a healthy farm will be. First of all, a healthy farm will satisfy three critical indicators: high productivity; economic viability (which includes fair working conditions); and environmental stewardship. To meet these criteria, a healthy farm will be characterized by four factors: (1) multi-functionality, meaning that it serves food production as well as social, economic and environmental goals; (2) regeneration of soil and biodiversity; (3) biodiversity in choice of crops, livestock and land; and (4) interconnectedness with the environment around it. A healthy farm will thus necessarily apply the following ecological practices: (1) a landscape approach which optimizes the beneficial role of uncultivated areas on a farm; (2) the use of crop diversity and crop rotation; (3) integration of crops and livestock; and (4) the use of cover crops. Download the full report here.