Organic cotton is growing without use of synthetic chemicals and GMO seeds. Organic cotton occupies 1% of global cotton production. Now organic cotton cultivation is reported in Africa, Asia, Europe, USA, Australia and South America.

There are number of reasons to grow organic cotton. Conventional cotton farming has negative impact on environment and health.  But here is a question, we don’t eat cotton, then why should we care about chemicals?

Cotton is considered the world’s dirtiest crop due to its heavy use of pesticides. We know that 60% of the cotton weight harvest is cotton seed. Cotton seed is processed to edible oil and animal feed. This part of cotton production enters the human food chain.

Not only are these carcinogens responsible for thousands of cases cancer in adults, they are particularly harmful to young children who can develop debilitating neuron developmental effects. Cotton seed oil is used to produce vitamin E. Cotton seed oil is the primary ingredient in Crisco. Cotton fibers produce cellulose which is added to a wide range of foods to thicken and stabilize the products.

Humans cannot digest cellulose so it is being used to meet the demand for low calorie and high fiber foods. Cellulose is basically a plastic and used as a non-caloric filler in numerous foods including , cream, milk powder, flavored milks, ice cream, sherbet, whey products, processed fruits, cooked vegetables,

canned beans, pre-cooked pastas, pre-cooked rice products, vinegars, mustard, soups, cider, salads, yeast, seasonings, sweeteners, soybean products, bakery items, breakfast cereals, including rolled oats, sports drinks, and dietetic foods. Some brands of pizza cheese consist of cellulose coated cheese granules combined with silicon to aid in melting.

Water become polluted with chemicals and cause diseases in human. Conventional farming reduces the soil fertility with passage of time. Market demand for textiles made from organic cotton exists in Europe, USA, Canada, Japan and Australia. The consumers buy textiles made from organic cotton to reduce the risk of skin irritation & allergies, to protect the environment from toxic chemicals and support sustainable agriculture production.

Organic cotton also used as a bedding material. It is safe for humans and biodegradable. Some organic bedding is composed of pure cotton, others are blend of cotton and wool which act as a natural fire retardant. Organic bedding regulates body temperature & helps to absorb moisture from the body during sleep. Organic bedding is hypoallergenic & does not contain dust. It is environment friendly provide support to organic industry and create a better world for upcoming generations.

Organic standards define the minimum criteria to be fulfilled, but not necessary best practices. Application of synthetic chemicals and GMO (genetically modified organisms) seeds are not allowed in organic cotton farming.

Crop rotation and prevention of spray drift from neighboring conventional field must be considered as important criteria in organic farming. Records must be maintained for inspection and certification of organic fields. So if we want to prevent diseases we should must go for organic farming. Because it saves nature and health of humans.

This article is jointly authored by Iqra Ghafoor and Dr Muqarrab Ali –Department of Agronomy MNS, University of Agriculture Multan Pakistan.

By Iqra Ghafoor

M.Sc. (Hons.) Agriculture/Agronomy MNS University of Agriculture Multan, Pakistan