Natural fibre is one of the most important crops grown in the world since it has very diverse uses. It is mostly used in textile and apparel industries to make clothing among other important basic elements.
Natural fiber is made up of a collection of elements which are majorly used in textile and apparel industries. These elements include sisal, jute, clean wool, lint, cotton, silk, and coir. Among these cotton is the leading natural fiber in terms of production and usage; it is grown in over 100 countries worldwide. Besides, the history of cotton dates back 7000 years and has four different types of Gossypium family namely hirsutum, herbaceum, arboretum, and barbadense. The total annual production of cotton is approximated to be 25 million tons and it is planted in an area totalling 33 million hectares. Below are top 10 largest fibre producing countries in the world in 2018.
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China is the top heavyweight in cotton production and it is among the top consumers in the world. The country has cotton farming in 24 provinces of the possible 35; this means that over 66% of land in China has cotton plantations. The cotton sector employs around 300 million workers and has approximately 100,000 farmers who are small-scale farmers. Besides, the country has the most textile companies which accounts to about 7,500 companies.
The principal regions for cotton production are Yangtze River Basin, Huang – Huai, and The Xinjiang Autonomous Regions. The major contributors of vast production are plastic mulching, huge usage of pesticides and fertilisers, special seedling transmulching, modern technology utilisation, and cotton–wheat double cropping. The country is known to produce 33 million bales per year which is equivalent to a third of global production.
India has a long history of cotton farming which is about 3000 years dating back to Indus valley civilisation; it is known for its beautiful and finest cotton fabrics. The country is among the leading with per acreage production of about 504 kilograms. The northern region of India is the most favourable for cotton farming due to great climatic conditions and dark black soils; it has has huge production in Rajasthan, Punjab, Gujarat, and Haryana. The country has invested in modern machinery in farming to increase quality and quantity. The production of cotton in India is 27.0 million bales annually; this translated to around 27% of global production.
3. United States
USA is the third largest cotton producer and the leading consumer in the world. It has 17 states in the southern and western regions that produces cotton in large scale. The country is famous in cotton production since it has invested in modern way of cultivation that uses machinery in its hundreds of hectares. Moreover, the leading states in cotton production in the country are Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, California, Arizona, and Texas; they have favourable climatic conditions for the crop growth. The cotton industry employs about 200,000 workers who help during the production process. Utilisation of nanotechnology and high-end technology such as genetic engineering has helped in improving the quality and quantity of cotton produced. The production of cotton in United States is approximated to be 18.0 million bales annually.
Among the powerhouse producers of cotton, Pakistan is the 4th largest producer. Cotton in the country is an integral contributor to the GDP; cotton and textile sector in the country is well advanced and has a prime status. Cotton arming in Pakistan has been allocated to about 15% which is equivalent to 2.4 million hectares of the arable land and planting is done in May while harvest at August during kharif season. Additionally, the prominent production regions in the country are Sindh and Punjab; use of high-quality BT cotton seeds has increased production over the years. The annual production in Pakistan stands at 10.3 million bales of cotton.
This South American country is a massive exporter of agricultural produce; it holds the 5th position of the prime cotton producers in the world. Cotton is one of the largely produce cash crop in the country and it occupies a portion of land estimated to be 558,000 hectares. Brazilian farmers are known for their ecofriendly approaches in soil development and conservation; this sets them apart from other farmers the world and increases the fertility rates of their lands. Furthermore, given that Brazil is among the hugest consumers of cotton in the world, the country has increased production over the years through technological and economic interventions like government support, precision farming technologies, and increased land allocation to cotton farming. The leading regions is cotton production are Mato Grosso and Bahia states. Brazil has an annual cotton production of about 9.3 million bales.
The country is a powerhouse in cotton production in the global markets holding a 6th slot among leading producers. Cotton is the greatest income contributor to the country’s GDP and it is referred as “white gold” to show how vital it is to their economy. The government controls production on a national level but the farms are owned by the small-scale farmers. Moreover, Europe is the largest importer of cotton form Uzbekistan. The cotton industry employees over 1 million workers during the production seasons which runs from April when planting starts to September when harvesting is done. The major production areas in Uzbekistan are Tashkent which is along the Syr Darya and Aydar Lake which is near Bukhara. The cotton production in the country is around 4.6 bales annually.
The country is the 7th greatest producer of cotton worldwide. It has around 495 hectares under cotton farming; this is about 17% of the total arable land. Australia has over 1200 cotton farms and most of them are family owned. Besides, half of these plantations are found in New South Wales and Queensland; production in New South Wales is huge in northern and Southern regions while in Queensland it is in south and central regions. The country is known to use 100% of the local seed in their planting and seed technology has greatly increased their yields. This makes the country produce high quality of cotton and commend high prices in the global markets. Additionally, cotton is one of the top rural export earners and it contributes to growth and development of about 152 rural communities. The highest noted production was in year 2011/2012 when it was over 5 million bales; the average annual production is estimated at 4.2 million bales.
Turkey is among the top producers of high-quality clothing materials since the textile industry is established. It stands at the 8th position among the top global producers; it is the leading European country in cotton production. Additionally, the major production areas include Çukurova, Southeastern Anatolia, and Aegean region; these regions producers more than half the country’s production. Turkey wants to increase its production to about 4 million bales annually by 2023; the government has started programs on supporting cotton farming so that cotton demand can be met. Farmers have started embracing better planting techniques as well as using certified seeds among other policies that can help boost their yields. The annual production of cotton in the country is approximately 2.8 million bales.
The country holds the 9th position among the leading cotton producers in the world. Cotton is one of the top income contributing sources for the country; cotton-related industries are well developed since production is high. It is important noting that half of the irrigated land is under cotton farming; the water for irrigation is harvested from Amu Darya river. Besides, the major areas of production in the country are Chärjew, Ahal, Dashhowu, and Mary. Turkmenstan is the leading country in the world with the highest kilograms of cotton per capita since it stands at 300. The annual production is estimated to stand at 1.6 million bales.
Argentina has its foot grounded in the top powerhouses of cotton production in the globe. The country has cultivated 570,780 hectares of land under cotton farming. The farming is majorly done in the northeastern region of the country and largely in Chaco province; other major production areas are Corrientes, Santa Fe, and Entre Rios provinces. In the recent past the country has been able to increase production due to government intervention in providing subsidized fertilizer in the regions. Moreover, the planting season in the country starts in October through December while the harvest season begins mid-February through mid-July. The cotton production in Argentina stands at a staggering 1.4 million bales per year.