World Cotton Day : 07 October

Cotton, a fabric that sustains over 100 million families wordlwide
Cotton is one of the most common fabrics in our wardrobes. It is comfortable, hypoallergenic, breathable and durable.

But cotton represents so much more than just a commodity. This natural fabric is a life-changing product worldwide that sustains 28.67 million growers and benefits over 100 million families across 75 countries in 5 continents.

This means that, behind any cotton clothing, following back its trade chain, there is a personal story.

It is true that cotton is really important to developed economies, but for least-developed and developing countries, it is a safety-net.

Cotton is a major source of livelihoods and incomes for many rural smallholders and laborers, including women, providing employment and income to some of the poorest rural areas in the world.

This first official UN World Cotton Day, the United Nations wants to raise visibility of the cotton sector and awareness of the critical role that it plays in economic development, international trade and poverty alleviation. The observance also aims to highlight the importance of sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

A resilient and multipurpose product
This durable, versatile and naturally organic fabric is made from the white, fluffy fibres around the seeds of cotton plants. As a crop resistant to climatic changes, it can be planted in dry and arid zones. Cotton occupies just 2.1% of the world’s arable land, yet it meets 27% of the world’s textile needs. Almost nothing from cotton is wasted. It is used in textiles, animal feed, edible oils, cosmetics or fuel, among other uses.

Plant of Cotton
World Cotton Day, an idea that started thanks to the “Cotton Four”
The initiative of World Cotton Day was born in 2019, when four cotton producers in sub-Saharan Africa– Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali, known as the Cotton Four -proposed the World Trade Organization a World Cotton Day celebration on October 7.

During 2 consecutive years, the date offered an opportunity to share knowledge and showcase cotton-related activities.

Now that the United Nations has officially recognized this World Cotton Day, this great opportunity creates awareness of the need of market access for cotton and cotton-related products from least developed countries, fosters sustainable trade policies and enables developing countries to benefit more from every step of the cotton value chain.

UN agencies have worked years towards this mission. For instance, the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) have helped C-4 to optimize production and improve local processing capacity, as well as to discuss the trade reforms needed to address high trade barriers and inequalities for cotton producers in developing countries. These efforts date back to 2003 through the Cotton Initiative.

Another UN agency, FAO, has long offered developing countries technical and policy support for boosting productivity and creating more opportunities in the cotton value chain. As an example, the +Cotton project, a cooperation initiative with Brazil (another leader in the industry) that helps Latin American producers to introduce innovative farming methods.

Let's keep working on offering the assistance to the cotton sector in developing countries to keep increasing productivity, investment and bring innovation and sustainable standards to increase the benefits of the cotton sector worldwide.


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