World Cotton Day | 7 October

World Cotton Day | 7 October

Cotton, the fabric of our lives.

Cotton touches us every day, it is a source of livelihoods for millions of smallholders and labourers, including women and their families, and contributes significantly to the economies of many developing countries. 

The World Cotton Day is an excellent opportunity to renew our commitment to enhancing the sustainability of the cotton sector and bring it to the forefront of the global agenda. 

wcd-2023v34 October 2023, 9:00-18:00 hours (CEST)
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The World Cotton Day 2023 will take place on 4 October 2023 at the Vienna International Centre in Austria. It is jointly hosted by Secretariats of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and is organized in cooperation with Secretariats of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Trade Center (ITC), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC).

2023 Theme of World Cotton Day: “Making cotton fair and sustainable for all, from farm to fashion”.

Through WCD 2023, we aim to bring stakeholders together, raise visibility of the cotton sector and awareness of the critical role that it plays in economic transformation, agricultural and value chain development, international trade, and poverty alleviation. The observance also aims to highlight the importance of sustained economic growth, inclusive and sustainable industrial development, full and productive employment, and decent work for all.

World Cotton Day 2023 | UNIDO


Celebrating cotton

Cotton is a culture, a way of life, and a tradition with its roots at the heart of human civilization. In August 2021, the General Assembly of the United Nations recognised the unique benefits of cotton by proclaiming 7 October of each year as World Cotton Day. The objective of this global celebration is to raise the visibility of the cotton sector and awareness of the critical role that it plays in economic development, international trade and poverty alleviation.

Cotton is the most important of the natural fibres, used daily in apparel and home furnishings. Cotton is a critical means of livelihood for millions of smallholders and their families by providing employment and income. It represents an important source of export revenues for some of the poorest countries in the world. The World Cotton Day offers a unique opportunity to renew the commitment to a sustainable cotton sector for better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life, leaving no one behind.

Key messages

Cotton is an important means of livelihood for millions of smallholders, workers and their families, providing employment and income.

Cotton exports represent an important source of foreign exchange earnings for a number of low-income countries, helping to cover their food import bills.

Cotton faces a number of uncertainties on both the production and demand sides that need to be properly addressed if the sector is to realize its full potential in supporting economic growth and sustainable development.

The cotton sector at all levels of the value chain represents a way to address wider development concerns to empower women and boost youth employment, while ensuring decent work for all.

The mobilisation of innovative technologies and resources is vital to ensure that the sector remains viable and sustainable.

Greater investments are needed to expand the sector beyond raw cotton production and create new income opportunities, especially for farmers, by adding more value to cotton fibre and developing by-products from other parts of the cotton plant.

A rules-based, non-discriminatory, open, fair, inclusive, predictable and transparent international cotton trading system is key to provide a livelihood to hundreds of millions of vulnerable people around the globe.
It is critical to reduce trade distorting domestic support measures for cotton and any other market distortions hampering the benefits from trade liberalization.

Interesting facts about cotton

Where is cotton grown?

Cotton is grown in subtropical and seasonally
dry tropical areas in both the northern
and southern hemispheres.

The cotton industry

The cotton industry benefits over 100
million families worldwide.

World cotton volume

In 2022, world production of cotton was estimated at around 24 million tonnes, 9 million tonnes of cotton were traded.

World cotton value

In 2022, world production of cotton was
valued at around USD 69 billion, while
global trade stood at over USD 26 billion.

Key world traders

The United States of America is the
world's largest cotton exporter, China the
largest importer.

Cotton demand

Demand for cotton is driven by the demand
for textiles and depends on competition
from synthetic fibers.

Global textile trade

In 2022, the value of world trade of textiles amounted to about USD 915 billion.

Did you know?

The top five cotton producing countries are China, India, the United States of America, Brazil and Pakistan, which together account for more than three-quarters of global production.

It is estimated that about 32 million farmers produce cotton globally and nearly half of them are women.

Around 80 percent of cotton is used in apparel, 15 percent in home furnishings and the remaining 5 percent mostly accounts for non-woven applications, such as filters and padding.



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