Sustainable Cotton Production: A Niche Market or a must Market?

Will Allen


Cotton production and manufacture are increasingly coming under criticism for the use of large amounts of pesticides and fertilizers around the world. Consumers, labor elements, environmentalists, the chemically sensitive and the synthetic fiber industry are all criticizing the high use of chemicals on cotton. In a relatively low pesticide-use region in the San Joaquin Valley, Allen surveyed the use of pesticides and fertilizers. Though low by most standards, 12 to 20 million pounds of pesticides are used yearly. Many of the most used pesticides are also on the California EPA high risk list. Yet, recent advances by growers, dyers and mills have illustrated that high quality, high yield cotton can be grown organically and processed with few or no toxins. The inevitable loss of most of our cotton chemicals due to regulation, resistance, environmental damage, public outrage, and high prices argues for the need to develop low and non-toxic pest management, fertility management, marketing and manufacturing strategies.

Reprinted from Proceedings of the 1994 Beltwide Cotton Conferences pp. 410 - 412
©National Cotton Council, Memphis TN

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Document last modified Sunday, Dec 6 1998