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India Struggling in Sustainable Cotton Production, says Textile Exchange Report

Saumy Deepak Tripathi
Saumy Deepak Tripathi

The Second Annual report on 2025 Sustainable Cotton Challenge was released by Textile Exchange, a non-profit that works to establish industry transformation in preferred fibers, integrity and standards, and responsible supply networks. The report is part of an initiative to resolve environmental challenges and to achieve goals sustainably. 

The report said that the share of cotton in the global fiber market had grown to 24.3% in 2017/18. The report expects the production of cotton to be 26,053 million metric tonnes out of which 6.4 million metric tonnes.  

India is the largest producer of cotton in the world but when it comes to producing sustainable cotton the country drops to fourth place behind Brazil, China, and Pakistan. India is expected to produce 685,376 metric tonnes and 5,72,000 metric of this is produced under the Better Cotton Initiative under which farmers are provided with training and capacity building on more sustainable agricultural practices.  

There are several reasons as to why India struggles in increasing its sustainable cotton capacity, and one of them is the supply chain. The farmers have to deal with a supply chain that is not transparent and more often than not farmers don’t get their due. There is a lack of strong infrastructure and value chain which means that the farmers are always on the edge. 

Another problem is the low yield of the land that means land usage is more but the quantity produced is less. The Cotton Association of India said that 420.72 kgs of cotton could grow on one hectare well below the global average of 765 kg per hectare. Seeds remain a core problem as the majority of the farmers use GM seeds which do not produce sustainable cotton. 

The Better Cotton Initiative has launched many initiatives to improve the condition like launching non-GM seed initiative and forming a consortium of Innovative Change Collaborative (ICCO), Solidaridad, The International Federation of Organica Agriculture(IFOAM) and Textile Exchange to resolve integrity issues by involving all stakeholders. 

But the main impetus needs to come from the government which needs to establish strong laws and markets that support the production of Sustainable Cotton.. Loans and easy credit facilities should also be provided to encourage farmers. 

These measures will go a long way toward resolving these issues. But for India, the road to it is long and difficult and will take time and effort from all to reach there 

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