Source International – Cotton

Worldwide cotton production and international cotton trade

The world’s largest producers of cotton currently are India, USA, China, Brazil, Pakistan, Turkey, Africa, and Austrailia with total international trade estimated to be around $12 billion. Many of the largest cotton producing countries heavily subsidize their cotton industries with world commodity and usage patterns dictating where and how much cotton will be grown around the world each year.  World production of this versatile fabric precursor currently accounts for approximately 2.5% of the world’s arable land with an annual production of around 25 million tons. While China is the world’s largest producer of this material, the United States is the world’s largest exporter.

Cotton is a soft staple fiber which grows in bolls around the seeds of cotton plants of the genus Gossypium. This almost pure cellulose fiber is a shrub native to tropical and subtropical regions around the world. Its fibers are spun into yarn or thread and used to make the soft, breathable fabric commonly used for the bulk of textile production worldwide. Cotton has been used by mankind as a fabric material since ancient times dating back to 6000 BC.


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Cotton is an important raw mateiral used to make a variety of textile and other products including:

Fabrics: Terrycloth, Denim, Cambric, Corduroy, Seersucker, Twill

Yarn for weaving,crocheting, and knitting

Blending with synthetic fabrics such as polyester

Fishing nets, Coffee filters, Tents, Cottonseed oil, rope, twine

Bandages and Cosmetic pads

Fun Fact: The term “blue-collar” comes from the blue hue of cambric-made work shirts.

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