By Independent Reporter
Tanzania overtakes Uganda
African producers are muscling onto the global organic market, snatching four of the ten top producer slots, according to the Organic Cotton Farm and Fiber Report 2008 released by the international monitoring body, Organic Exchange (OE)
Uganda retained the seventh position among the top ten although it was overtaken by Tanzania which jumped from position eight in 2007 to position five in 2008.
The report showed that organic cotton production worldwide rose by 152 % in 2007/08 to 145,872 metric tons (MT) (668,581 bales) grown in 22 countries (up from 57,932 (265,517 bales) produced in 2006/07).
India, Syria, Turkey, China, Tanzania, USA, Uganda, Peru, Egypt, and Burkina Faso were the top ten organic cotton-producing countries in order by rank with India taking over Turkey’s long-time standing as the number one producer.
The increase was driven in large part by the heightened global demand for organic cotton on the part of small- to large-sized retailers.
OE anticipates organic cotton production to increase 54 percent in 2008/09. Similarly, OE anticipates the industry will continue to grow in 2008 despite the economic downturn due to continued consumer interest in â€œgreenâ€ products and production.
The top ten organic cotton producing countries the year before were Turkey, India, China, Syria, Peru, the United States, Uganda, Tanzania, Israel, and Pakistan.
Africa contributes only a small share to the global organic cotton with over 80% being grown in the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
Regionally, organic cotton production began in 1994 in Tanzania and Uganda with Senegal and Zimbabwe joining in 1995 and Benin in 1996.
Uganda, Tanzania and Senegal are the main producers and Kenya has recently started.