How Organic cotton helps farmers trade their way out of poverty
WHY CONVENTIONAL COTTON IS SUCH A KILLER
Conventional cotton represents 10% of world agriculture and uses 25% of the world's pesticides. 100 million conventional cotton farmers, from Russia to South Africa, are living in conditions of abject poverty and near starvation.
Conventional cotton subsidies funded by American taxpayers are causing poverty in the developing world as they lower the world price for cotton. (Americans are the only ones that can change this by writing to their Congress people and telling them they insist on organic cotton clothing.)
20,000 people die every year from accidental pesticide poisoning in conventional cotton agriculture (World Health Organisation). Death by starvation is alarmingly prevalent and 200,000 cotton farmers commit suicide annually due to spiralling debts incurred from buying pesticides. A further 1,000,000 people a year suffer from long-term pesticide poisoning (Pesticide Action Network).
However, if farmers grow cotton organically and can sell it as such, this dire situation is reversed.
By growing organically, farmers get a 50% increase in their income - due to a 40% reduction in costs - and the 20% premium they receive for producing organic cotton allows them to feed, clothes, educate and provide healthcare for their children.
Organic cotton helps farmers trade their way out of poverty. It's the only formula for survival in the cotton sector in the developing world.