What is Organic Cotton?

Organic cotton is generally defined as cotton grown organically in subtropical countries such as India, Turkey, China, and parts of the United States from non-genetically modified plants and without the use of any synthetic agricultural chemicals other than those permitted by certified organic labelling. Its manufacture is intended to promote and improve biodiversity and biological cycles. Cotton plantations in the United States must also meet the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) requirements in order to be considered organic. This organisation establishes the acceptable pest control, growing, fertilising, and handling practises for organic crops.

Organic cotton is quite rare and accounts for only 1-2% of global cotton production and is currently grown in a number of countries. India (51%), China (19%), Turkey (7%), and Kyrgyzstan (7%), are the top producers (as of 2018). Organic cotton is grown in at least eight African countries. The SEKEM organisation in Egypt was the first producer (1990); the farmers involved later convinced the Egyptian government to convert 400,000 hectares of conventional cotton production to integrated methods, resulting in a 90% reduction in synthetic pesticide use in Egypt and a 30% increase in yields.

Various industry initiatives aim to support organic growers, and Paras Bhujel is now incorporating organic cotton into their supply chains.

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