Cotton generates jobs for five people on average every metric tons, frequently in some of the world’s poorest places; this equates to about 100 million families worldwide.
The United Nations is celebrating World Cotton Day on Thursday to honor these and other efforts.
Cotton is a vital source of income for millions of smallholder farmers, as well as a source of money for some of the world’s poorest nations. As a result, the industry will play a critical role in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
This natural cloth, according to the United Nations, “represents so much more than just a commodity,” it is “a life-changing product.”
Cotton is a significant source of income for many rural workers, particularly women. The United Nations intends to increase awareness about the importance of cotton in economic development, international trade, and poverty alleviation with this World Day.
The programme also intends to emphasize the necessity of long-term, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, as well as full and productive employment for all people.
Cotton may be grown in dry and desert areas since it is a climatically resilient crop. It only accounts for 2.1% of the world’s arable land, but it supplies 27% of the world’s textiles.
Around 80% of cotton is used in the textile industry, 15% in home furnishings, and the remaining 5% is largely employed in non-woven applications including filters and padding.
Cotton is almost entirely wasted. Food goods, such as edible oil and animal feed, can be made from it in addition to textiles and garments.
Other applications, such as employing cotton-based filaments in 3D printers, have recently been developed since they conduct heat well, become stronger when wet, and are more scalable than materials like wood.
In 2019, four cotton producers from Sub-Saharan Africa — Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, and Mali, collectively known as the Cotton Four – submitted a World Day celebration on October 7 to the World Trade Organization.
With the UN’s recognition of the anniversary, it became an opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of market access for LDCs, support sustainable trade policies, and enable developing nations to benefit more from every step of the value chain.
UN institutions have been working toward this aim for years. For example, since 2003, the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the World Trade Organization have aided the Cotton Four in improving production capacity and discussing trade reforms to overcome high trade barriers.
FAO, another UN agency, has long provided technical and policy assistance to underdeveloped countries. The +Cotton project, for example, is a collaboration with Brazil that assists Latin American farmers with novel growing methods.