Cotton production in the world
Cotton is a natural plant fiber which grows around the seed of the cotton plant. Fibers are used in the textile industry, where they are the starting point of the production chain. First, the cotton fiber is obtained from the cotton plant and then spun into yarn. From there, the cotton yarn is woven or knitted into fabric.
The use of cotton has a long tradition in the clothing industry due to its desirable characteristics. Cloths made of this fiber are moisture-absorbent, have a good drape and are known for their long durability. Consumers continue to purchase large amounts of cotton products as they prefer cotton’s light and comfortable qualities. Products made out of cotton range from highly absorbent bath towels over bed linens to basic clothes such as t-shirts, underwear or socks.
The top cotton producing countries include China, India and the United States respectively. Within the United States, the Southern states traditionally harvest the largest quantities of cotton. This region was formerly known as the ‘Cotton Belt’, where cotton was the predominant cash crop from the 18th to the 20th century. Due to soil depletion and social and economic changes, cotton production has declined and acres in this region are now mainly used for crops such as corn, soybeans and wheat.