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Director - communications and international relations Bremer Baumwollborse (Bremen Cotton Exchange)
What would be the size of the global organic cotton industry? Will organic cotton be a good option for cotton farmers around the world?
First, organic cotton production is one of the several 'so-called' identity cottons. We recommend a reading of the official publication of the Task Force in Identity Cottons that was published last year. In our opinion, the organic cotton sector will not grow significantly, but stay only a niche market. The cotton industry in general has to overcome some challenges like large stocks and strong competition from manmade fibres. Those factors are pretty strong.
Second, there are several challenges, e.g. much more manual labour, restrictions with regard to agricultural inputs, prohibition of GMOs, the farmer needs more land as the yields are lower as compared with the average of the conventional sector. The farmer needs a sound and secure business relation with his clients or the next stages of the supply chain to make sure he can sell his organic cotton as production costs are higher and he takes a risk.
From which markets would the demand for organic cotton be the most?
We see the demand in Europe as well as developing economics at the moment, but at the same time we also see that the textile value chain does not accept rising costs which are unavoidable. This is certainly a paradox. However, there is a market.
What are the criteria used to classify a given piece of cotton as organic in the international community?
There are several standards like the EU regulation and in the United States, the organic production must meet the requirements of the National Organic Program or the GOTS standard. There is no difference between the organic and conventional fibres themselves, but the production method is different.
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