Organic cotton is fabulous! It’s so good in so many ways. Of course, we know it’s awesome for our little ones to wear but it’s also awesome in other ways. So, let’s do it, let’s have another look at organic cotton and how it’s produced and why it’s better.
Why Organic Cotton Production is Different
This kind of production is far more than just using natural fertilisers and pesticides. In fact, it involves following a holistic approach to cotton production. Furthermore, organic cotton production is driven more by agronomic processes rather than convention methods. This means that crop species and soil types are closely matched for optimum yields. As a result, a more diverse and balanced farming eco-system is created. In addition, crop species selection is considered paramount to match local soil, pest-resistance and climate. Soil improvement is managed with mulch and compost that’s optimised for the conditions.
Soil Fertility Management for Organic Cotton
Fertility is maintained with select organic matter. This promotes soil health by improving water retention, essential nutrients and beneficial micro-organisms. As opposed to excessive fertilisers and over-use. To maintain a healthy soil, organic matter or compost needs to be applied continuously. This can be leaves and stalks of the crop itself plus organic manures, oil cakes and natural liquid fertilizers.
Composting and Integrated Animal Husbandry
Integrating animal husbandry into cotton production farms provides a good supply of high-quality manure. Together with compost, dressing crops with these materials is highly beneficial.
Crop mixing and crop rotation are essential elements of organic farming. Crop rotation helps prevent leaching of the soil, pest infestation and the build-up of weeds.
The Challenge of Pest Management
Conventional cotton farming relies heavily on a cocktail of pesticides. However, synthetic pesticides are not allowed with organic production. As such, organic pest reduction techniques include crop rotation, multicultivation and the promotion of useful pest predators such as birds, ladybirds, beetles and ants. In addition, some cotton pests prefer other crops such as maize, sunflower, okra (lady finger), sorghum, pigeon pea. So, these are planted with the cotton as ‘trap’ crops.
The Benefits of Organic Cotton
There’s no doubt that organic cotton shows benefits all along its supply chain. Small farmers, workers, traders, retailer, consumers and the environment all see economic and social advantages. Furthermore, buying organic cotton products with Fairtrade attribution means you can be confident you’re doing the right thing.