is the seed hair of the Gossypium bush which nowadays can be found throughout the world. Primarily, however, it grows in tropical and sub-tropical areas between the 35th southern parallel and the 45th northern parallel, the so called ‘cotton belt’.
Cotton is one of the ancient crops. Already 3,000 BC cotton was grown in the Indus Valley. Alexander the Great introduced the cultivation of cotton to Greece. It was in the 18th century – with the invention of the ginning machine and weaving loom – that cotton attained its position as a mass market product.
Use: Cotton is used in textile in its pure form but also mixed with other fibres.
Certified organic cotton comes from organic agriculture that is strictly checked and regulated according to organic standards. No artificial fertilisers, pesticides or defoliants are allowed in its cultivation. Also in the subsequent processing and manufacturing no treatments or production aids harmful to the environment are allowed.
Crop rotation is used in growing the cotton so soil is not depleted and the natural biological balance is safeguarded. In 2001 the total harvest of organic cotton was at 6,000 tons, which represents approx 0.03% of world production. Numbers currently are on the up.
Today cotton is grown as a renewable raw material on all continents. Unfortunately it is also the agricultural crop that is the heaviest user of pesticides, fertilisers and defoliants.
Cotton is grown on approx. 4% of arable land worldwide but receives approx 11% of all pesticides used globally.
The most important cotton producing countries are China, the USA, India and Pakistan. In Europe the biggest producer of cotton is Greece.
Literature: Palmengarten Special Edition Brochure 18, Fibre Plants