The economies of some of the world's poorest countries are dependant upon cotton. Predominantly a smallholder cash crop, cotton is important at both local and national levels.
- Two thirds of the world's cotton is produced in developing countries
- 100 million rural households are involved in cotton production
- 40% of West Africa's exports consist of cotton
But the price that farmers in developing countries receive for their high quality cotton is driven down by Northern subsidies and competition from synthetic fibres.
Fairtrade certification guarantees a fair and stable price for small-scale cotton farmers. By purchasing products made with Fairtrade certified cotton, you can help reverse the injustices they face
Social and Economic Benefits
- Increased Income - Fairtrade guarantees farmers a better price for their cotton. This means they are more able to support their families and invest in their farms. Housing can be improved, children can stay in school, and farmers can choose to stay on their land instead of being forced to migrate to cities.
- Community Development - The Fairtrade price includes a premium that is set aside to invest in social and environmental projects. Elected farmer committees decide democratically how these premiums are spent.
- Responsible Farming - The pressure to increase yields by using more chemicals in conventional cotton farming threatens human health and environmental sustainability. Fairtrade farmers are committed to reducing chemical use and protecting the environment.
- Reducing Impact - Fairtrade cotton farmers reduce and replace conventional pesticides and fertilisers with natural alternatives.
- Non GM - Fairtrade standards prohibit the use of genetically modified cotton seed.
TEXT COURTESY OF FAIRTRADE FOUNDATION - WWW.FAIRTRADE.ORG.UK