Organic Cotton

Organic cotton is cotton that is produced by internationally recognized organic farming standards from the EU regulation 834/2007, the US National Organic Program (NOP), India's National Program for Organic Production (NPOP), or the Japanese Agricultural Standard (JAS). Unlike conventional cotton, its production and processing uses up to 88% less water and up to 62% less energy, uses only natural pesticides, and is grown using organic strategies such as promoting natural pest control and crop rotation.

What are the benefits of cotton?

Cotton is a natural material that is particularly known for its breathability and softness. It is an excellent choice for basically any kind of clothing, which is why it is also widely used in casual fashion. It is very pleasant to the touch, durable, and does not require any special care - its maintenance is very simple.

Organic cotton has virtually identical properties to standard cotton, but thanks to production without the use of synthetic pesticides and with respect for the environment, the harmful impact of its processing is minimized.

However, as organic cotton does not use the aforementioned synthetic pesticides, organic cotton can be slightly stronger and kinder to the human skin than standard cotton.

What is organic farming?

Organic cotton production does not simply mean replacing synthetic fertilizers and pesticides with organic ones. Organic cultivation methods are more based on knowledge of agronomic practices than conventional input-based production.

A systems approach aims to create a diverse and balanced agricultural ecosystem that ideally encompasses all types of crops and economic activities. Farms must undergo a two-year transition period in which their production system is converted from conventional to organic. A key element of organic production is the careful selection of varieties adapted to local conditions in terms of climate, soil, and resistance to pests and diseases.

Pest control

In conventional farming, cotton is considered a crop that is very susceptible to attack by pests. To keep pests under control, large quantities of synthetic pesticides are sprayed. However, the use of synthetic pesticides is not allowed in organic farming.

The organic approach takes a completely different approach, the aim being to prevent the pest problem from occurring in the first place by introducing a diverse and balanced agricultural ecosystem and carefully monitoring pest populations.

Crop rotation: Monocultures provide abundant food sources for potential cotton pests, causing their populations to increase rapidly. Further, the use of pesticides on major pests can result in problems with secondary pests. Crop rotation creates a natural balance and helps keep pest populations low.

Mixed cropping: has a similar effect to crop rotation, but in a smaller area in the same growing season and the same field.

Supporting natural enemies: Natural enemies of cotton pests such as birds, ladybirds, beetles, spiders, parasitic wasps, flatworms, and ants benefit from the non-use of pesticides and crop diversification. They help the farmer to keep pest attacks at an acceptable level. Providing suitable habitats for natural enemies such as ladybirds or goldenrods can help increase and build up their populations.

Crop attraction: some cotton pests prefer crops such as maize, sunflower, okra, sorghum, Indian cayenne, or hibiscus to cotton. Growing these crops as attractant crops along with cotton will save cotton. In addition to their positive impact on pest control, these crops can be harvested and thus contribute to the diversification of production systems.

Natural pesticides: If preventive measures are not sufficiently effective and pest populations exceed the economic threshold of harmfulness, then several natural pesticides can be used in the cultivation of organic cotton.

Quality management at harvest and post-harvest

The price of cotton is usually set according to the quality of the cottonseed. The most important measures to improve the quality of organic cotton during harvest and post-harvest are as follows:

Removal of leaves and capsules damaged from cotton harvesting.

Collecting and transporting harvested cotton in clean cotton cloth, never in nylon or other synthetic fabrics, to avoid contamination by foreign fibers (from fabric, hair, packaging material, etc.).

Pick only mature cotton. Immature cotton fibers absorb dyes poorly.

Keeping the cotton crop dry. Cotton must be harvested in a dry environment, avoiding harvesting in the morning dew or after rain. The crop must also be stored in a dry environment.

Avoiding contamination of the cotton with dust or chemicals, especially fertilizers, pesticides, and diesel.

The use of any pest control product is prohibited in the storage of the cotton crop.

Clear separation of organic cotton from non-organic cotton or cotton harvested during the transition period to avoid mixing.