Growing Season: 2011-12
General Staple Lengths: Medium
No. of Producer Groups: 8 (inc. 4 In-Conversion)
No. of Farmers: 1,993
No. of Women Farmers: 952
Organic Cotton Production Area: 4,218 ha
Seed cotton production: 18,804 mt
Fiber (lint) Production: 8,106 mt
Bales (US) of Cotton Lint: 37,204
China is the largest (conventional) cotton producer in the world, with cotton occupying a crucial position in the national economy and the basic means of livelihood for many Chinese. The first organic cotton trial in China started in 2001 in Akesu area of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Organic cotton production in China is still a small consideration. Xinjiang is so far the only province with sizeable organic production. China is a more significant importer of cotton (including organic) and yarn, mainly from Turkey, India and other bigger cotton producing regions. This is not surprising given that the Chinese garment industry is still 10 times bigger than that of India, Turkey, Vietnam and any of the other big textile manufacturing centres.
Organic cotton is currently financed by a small number of private companies (in Taiwan etc.), some technical support is provided by the Cotton Institute in China and specialist advice on organic cotton farming and development by the international NGO’s Helvetas and Solidaridad.
Instead of steady growth, organic cotton production in China is still negligible, compared to the annual cotton output of 6.5 million metric tonnes. There is speculative interest in where China might head, and a number of brands, investors, and NGOs are keen to explore China’s potential for cotton to ‘go organic’.