Organic Cotton & Clothing Sales Steadily Increase

Organic Cotton & Clothing Sales
Steadily Increase


4 January

U.S. and Canadian manufacturers of organic fiber products have seen their
sales grow 22 percent annually over the past five years, with non-clothing
items, such as linens and personal care products, experiencing 39 percent
growth, according to the Organic Trade Association's (OTA's) 2001
Manufacturers¹ Market Survey.

Sales of clothing made with organic fiber grew by 11 percent during the same
period for OTA members who manufacture organic fiber products, which include
products made from organic cotton, wool, or other fiber crops. The survey
projects an average annual growth rate of 44% during 2000 to 2005 for all
organic fiber products.

The estimated U.S. harvest of 10,799 acres of organic cotton yielded
4,099,680 pounds (8,541 bales) of cotton in 2000, according to data
collected by OTA in a separate survey funded by a grant from Cotton
Incorporated. In 2001, U.S. growers planted 11,459 acres of certified
organic and transitional cotton. Harvest figures for 2001 are not yet

A decrease in organic cotton acreage from the 16,785 acres recorded for 1999
has been due partially to state mandated boll weevil eradication zones. In
such zones, organic farmers faced having to spray pesticides not approved
for organic production, which would lead to losing their organic
certification status, or plowing the crop under if an unacceptable number of
boll weevil were found. Another hurdle for U.S. growers of organic cotton
has been to obtain contracts for their crops. There are signs this may be
changing, however.

"Major U.S. retailers of apparel have met with organic farmers during the
past year to discuss overcoming supply chain and sourcing issues," said
Katherine DiMatteo, OTA's executive director. "Interest by additional large
companies to use organic cotton holds the promise to U.S. growers of
increased outlets for their crops, and should encourage increased

Interest in organic products has been growing both domestically and
internationally. A November 200l report from the Pesticide Action Network of
the United Kingdom shows approximately 5,950 metric tons (slightly more than
13 million pounds) of organic cotton were grown in 11 countries around the
world in 2000-2001. Turkey¹s production represented 29 percent of the global
total, followed by the United States, with 27 percent.

Representing the organic industry in North America, the Organic Trade
Association (OTA) encourages global sustainability through promoting and
protecting the growth of diverse organic trade. More information is
available on OTA's web site (

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