Better cotton in a changing climate
This article is written by Ashok Hegde, CEO for Fibre, Agri-industrials and Ag Services at Olam Agri and a Better Cotton Council Member
Cotton is not only the world’s most used natural fibre, but also a source of livelihood for the millions that depend on it. Cotton directly supports the livelihoods of 350 million people worldwide, including 100 million farmers. Yet, the cotton plant is extremely sensitive to changing weather conditions and the impact of climate change on cotton crops will make managing cotton supplies even more challenging.
Across the world, farmers continue to be impacted by extreme weather patterns such as erratic monsoons, droughts and excessive rainfall. Smallholder farmers are exceptionally vulnerable to weather events. Extreme weather events have the ability to destroy an entire harvest, thereby threatening the livelihoods of smallholder farmers.
According to Cotton 2040, 40% of cotton-producing regions are likely to see their growing seasons shortened due to rising temperatures by 2040, while drought could hit half the global crop. It is, therefore, critical for us to work together to help smallholder farmers cope with climate impacts and build a more resilient and sustainable cotton supply chain.