Cotton, weaving a better future

©FAO/Asim Hafeez


The cotton sector contributes significantly to the economies of many low-income countries, as a source of employment and livelihoods. It is estimated that cotton sustains about 32 million growers and benefits over 100 million families across about 80 countries in 5 continents.

World Cotton Day (7 October) offers an opportunity to highlight the vital role that cotton plays in economic development, international trade and poverty alleviation.

Ahead of the celebration, find out more about this important commodity with a selection of FAO publications.

OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2023−2032, Chapter 10: Cotton
This chapter describes market developments and medium-term projections for world cotton markets for the period 2023−32. Projections cover consumption, production, trade and prices developments for cotton. The chapter concludes with a discussion of key risks and uncertainties which could have implications for world cotton markets over the next decade. You can browse through the full publication here.

Gender dimension in the Cotton Sector: characterising the role of women
Cotton is an important source of livelihood for millions of smallholders worldwide, with women contributing significantly to cotton farming. And, yet they face disproportionate barriers along the cotton value chain. This factsheet calls for gender-responsive policies and programmes that can help ensure that benefits and incomes generated along the cotton value chain are equitably distributed among women and men.

The Cotton-4 (C-4) countries in the context of the global cotton market: Situation and short- and medium-term outlook
This document analyses the cotton market in the Cotton-4 (C-4) countries, Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali. It studies the current market situation and medium-term prospects of the sector and considers the way forward.

Recent trends and prospects in the world cotton market and policy developments
This report discusses the key trends that affect the cotton market, the relationship between man-made and cotton fibres, and the extent to which technology can alter that relationship. It aims to support policy-making and investment strategies for a more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable cotton sector.

Azerbaijan: Cotton sector review
Based on field visits, interviews and meetings with public and private sector stakeholders, this study identifies prospective investment challenges and opportunities associated with the Azerbaijani cotton system, with a focus on major agronomic, economic and social issues.


Further reading



  • Eliminating child labour and forced labour in cotton-growing communities
    • the case of Burkina Faso
    • the case of Mali


Additional resource


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