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. 

7 October 2022, 12:30-15:00 hours (CEST)
Agenda | Press release |  Webcast

Celebrate World Cotton Day with us!

The event, to be opened by FAO Director-General, QU Dongyu, will highlight the crucial role the cotton sector plays for Members as well as its broader economic and social relevance around the world. The event will be an occasion to focus on the importance of the cotton sector for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Interpretation will be available in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish.

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 2021, world production of cotton was estimated at around 26 million tonnes,
10 million tonnes of cotton were traded.

World cotton value

In 2021, world production of cotton was
valued at around USD 50 billion, while
global trade stood at over USD 20 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 2020, the value of world trade of textiles amounted to about USD 770 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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