While the interest in organic cotton seems to be increasing, it is suffering some growing pains.
The just-released “2011 Organic Cotton Market Report,” published by Textile Exchange, shows that even though 81 percent of brands and retailers responding to its market survey indicated they plan to expand their use of organic cotton, production was down 37 percent in 2011.
The decline came mostly in India, the origin of almost 70 percent of organic cotton. Four primary reasons underpin the fall: problems in cotton seed supply, economic uncertainty, stringent requirements in India and shifts by some companies away from organic or fair-trade initiatives. The disparity in sales and production also indicates usage of excess inventory following weak demand when the recession hit in 2010.
However, the report said, “Based on the growth rates, 2011 retail sales clock in at an estimated $6.8 billion, overshooting our estimate in last year’s report of $6.2 billion. If growth continues at the same rate, the market will reach $8.9 billion in 2012.”
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