Cotton Industry`s History, Current Challenges


CottonIndustry`s History, Current Challenges

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CottonIndustry`s History, Current Challenges

Cottonproduction is practiced by several countries around the globe. U.S.A,India, Pakistan, and Turkey are some of the largest producers ofcotton in the world and their cotton industries are some of the mostsophisticated too(Aspin, C. (1981).That has largely influenced this research as these countries play avery significant role in the world cotton market.

USAis the leading exporter of cotton in the world and, therefore, cottonproduction is an important economic factor for the country. The USAis third in the world regarding cotton production, only after Chinaand India(Starbird, &amp United States, 1987).The cotton industry in the country is estimated at $25 per year, andit employs more than 200,000 people.

Turkeyis the sixth largest producer in the world (Aspin,C. (1981).Its more than 10 million people have 40% of its labor force, engagedin agriculture, with 30% of these in cotton production (Aspin,C. (1981).Cotton industry therefore plays a significant role in the Turkisheconomy, with the government directing massive resources towardsdevelopment of the sector (Aspin,C. (1981).

ThePakistan economy largely depends on the performance of the cottonindustry which produced 11milion in 2014(Trueman, 2015)A big proportion of its labor force is involved in the production ofthe commodity.

India,on the other hand, has practiced cotton production probably, longerthan most countries in the world. Millions of its population isdependent on the commodity for their wellbeing, and the industry isquite advanced. This paper discusses the cotton industry withparticular focus on USA, India, Pakistan and Turkey. This topic wasselected because of the huge interest in cotton products and garmentsby people around the world. The research would enlighten readers onthe various dynamics in the cotton production industry.

Generalbackground/history on the cotton industry

Mostof the cotton production in the USA is grown in the states ofCalifornia, Arizona, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas. Theproduction in the year 2012 was estimated to be 17 million bales.Cotton farming in the USA started in the 1920s and was highlyconnected with the slavery era (Economic&amp Industrial Publications (Firm), 1990).With the majority of the slaves working on the cotton plantations, itwas one of the sources of racial tension at the time as the number ofblacks mainly grew rapidly as the number of black landownersincreased too(Shui,and Plastina.2013).The industry was significantly affected by reduced prices and pestinfestation in the early and mid-1920s, this was mainly due tomechanization of agriculture, and it compelled many blacks to move tocities in North America in mid-1940s(Glade, Meyer, Stults &amp United States, 1996).Mechanizationrendered my workers jobless with the first crop of cotton that wascompletely mechanized in production process being harvested in 1944.

Turkeyis substantially known for its cotton growing though it hasexperienced several problems in the last decade( (n.d.), 2016).Strict measures by the government have highly affected the industryin the recent past, but the country is still the sixth largestproducer in the world. Cotton growing in Turkey gained momentum inthe 1980s which have seen a significant expansion of the industrymaking the country one of the largest exporter and consumer of cottonproducts(Yapı ve Kredi, 1979).The industry continues to be explored with the increase in the marketaround the world. The amount of resources, manpower and attentiondirected to cotton production in the country is highly associatedwith the entire advancement of the textile industry.

Pakistanis one of the oldest regions where cotton farming began. It wasdiscovered in strings on copper bead found in a cemetery in 6000bc.The lines were subjected to intensive analysis which revealed thatthey were indeed cotton(Aspin,1981).Farming of the fabric was instantly adopted and became common in theeastern part of Pakistan that borders northwestern India(Yapı ve Kredi, 1979).It has since been spun and woven from prehistoric times. It dressedpeople of ancient India which included Pakistan, Egypt, and China(Economic&amp Industrial Publications (Firm), 1990).Cotton production in Pakistan therefore provides one the oldest casesof farming in the history of mankind which probably explains theextensive nature of the production in the country(Smelser,1959).

Weavingand spinning of cotton products has existed in India for as long asthe existence of the country. The productions in factories, however,started in the 1850s(Sastry, 1984). .Thecotton industry began when the first cotton factory was set up atGhusiri in 1818 although it was later closed due to lack of enoughraw materials(Sastry, 1984).However production continued, and a cotton mill was established atMumbai in the western India which is a major cotton growing area(Trueman,2015).The area around Ahmadabad has also been popular for cotton production(Trueman,2015).

Chinais also one of the major players in the world’s cotton industry(Starbird, &amp United States, 1987).It is the world’s largest consumer of cotton, Second largestproducer and the largest importer(Starbird, &amp United States, 1987).More than 100million people of the people are involved in cottonproduction, with Xingjian autonomous region accounting for 50% of theproduction. Cotton production occupies approximately 3% of the entireland under agriculture(Starbird, &amp United States, 1987).


Cottonproduction requires a lot of water with a kilo requiring 20,000liters of water to produce which poses a major challenge toenvironmental water resources (Trueman,2015). Thatis a serious problem considering that water is a scarce commodity,around the world and more so in the cotton growing regions some ofwhich are in the developing countries (Trueman,2015).Accordingto available research, 70% of cotton production is done viairrigation and a lot of questions have been raised by environmentaljustice foundation (EJF), and they have concluded that 15 to 35% ofthose water withdrawals are not sustainable (Trueman,2015).

Theviruses and pests that infest the cotton plant demand the use ofpesticides and other chemicals that are harmful to the environment.Some of the chemicals are hazardous and could interfere with therespiration systems of humans. Proper protection gears should be usedduring application. These pesticides are also a threat to balance inbiological diversity as they are poisonous to environmentalorganisms. Continuous tilling of soil for cotton production, alsolead to exhaustion of micronutrients from the soil(Trueman,2015).That affects the production of other crops.


Cottonfarming requires extensive use of pesticides and fertilizers, andthat contributes significantly to raising the cost of production andhence the incomes earned from the production. It has been noted thatthe use of artificial fertilizers in the production of cotton iscommon since the nutritional requirements of the crop cannot be fullysatisfied by organic nutrients (Pimentel, et at, 1992). That retainsthe cost high all other factors notwithstanding(Trueman,2015).

Insectsand pests that infest the crop have developed resistance to some ofthe pesticides which have led to more application of these pesticidesto eradicate the pests (Martinuzzi,et al, 2011).That continues to impact on the incomes earned from the production ofthe crop. At the same time, this factor further contributes topollution of the environment whose long-term effect could bedisastrous to both the humans and other organisms.

Alot of funds continue to be set aside to facilitate research ondiseases and pests that attack the cotton plant. The increasedspending has constricted the budgets allocated to agriculture in mostof the countries where cotton production is practiced.

Finally,due to the high cost of production of cotton, there have beendwindling incomes among the producing communities around the world(Martinuzzi, et al2011).Low wages attributed to high cost of production and low prices in theinternational market have impacted negatively on the cotton producingnations. That, in turn, implies there is poor management of theenvironments due to lack of enough resources


Fromvarious study conducted, there are important effects related tocotton cultivation. Majority of people involved in cotton productionare located in some of the poorest countries and have small farmsthat cannot make any profitable cotton enterprises(WWF (n.d.) Overview. World Wild Life. Web. 2016).The practice therefore doesn’t provide any decent opportunity toearn incomes for the small scale farmers.

Insome parts of India, Cotton workers are poorly paid, and the chanceto work in cotton farms is oppressive and exploitative(Martinuzzi,et al2011).There have also been reported cases of child and forced labor incotton production. Therefore the dignity of the people is degradedthrough wrongful involvement in cotton production(WWF Global (n.d.),2016).In other cases the workers are not provided with the relevant safetyequipment as they work on the farms which pose a major risk to theirhealth. Some of the health hazardous chemicals used in the cottonfarming include Mathamidophos and Alphacypermethrin (Martinuzzi,et al, 2011)..There have been high amounts of debts incurred by cotton farmers insome parts of India, reaching unmanageable levels which havefrequently led to suicides(Trueman,2015)


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