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US has potential for growth of organic cotton: Report
Mar '14
There is a potential for future growth of organic cotton in the United States, according to a recent report prepared by the Organic Trade Association (OTA), the leading voice for organic trade in the US, representing over 6,500 organic businesses across 49 states.
The ‘2012 and Preliminary 2013 U.S. Organic Cotton Production & Marketing Trends’ report says organic cotton was planted on 14,787 acres in 2012, which increased to 15,685 acres in 2013, and expects the area to go up to 18,614 acres over the next five-year period, marking the largest acreage devoted to organic cotton in the US since 1995.
The report identifies three building blocks for the long-term success and viability of domestic organic cotton production.
The first—the commercial availability of organic seed— is currently a major hurdle for organic cotton producers. However, promising research is now being conducted by a team at Texas A&M AgriLife Research in Lubbock, TX. The research, led by Dr. Jane Dever, an associate professor in cotton breeding, focuses on improving organic and non-GM cottonseed, including fiber quality and yields, as well as increased tolerance to drought, pests and weeds.
The second—increased use of the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), which are stringent voluntary global standards for the post-harvest processing of apparel and home textiles made with organic fiber—has resulted in more than 3,000 facilities worldwide certified to GOTS. In the US, the number of GOTS-certified facilities has increased to 44, an indication that consumers are seeking organic textiles from field to purchase that are made with the environment and health in mind.
The third building block—marketing efforts to increase consumer demand for the US-grown organic cotton—will be key to gaining more consumer purchases to grow domestic production. Consumers already seek the ‘Made in the USA’ label for many items. As organic textiles are both grown and manufactured in the US, a unique and powerful story can be told about sustainability as well as job creation, says the report.
In addition, the report also makes some suggestions to improve the demand for US-grown organic cotton, which include agricultural advances to assist with weed control, continued improvements to crop insurance, use of cotton seed varieties that are better suited to growing conditions, streamlining administrative process for the organic grower, and tax credits, certification cost share and other financial incentives to encourage organic production.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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