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Global cotton production, import and export analysis in 2021-22 crop year

Cotton is the world’s most popular fiber for manufacturing clothing and various textile products. People love to wear clothes made of cotton fiber. This cotton business is significant to the world economy. 27 million tons of cotton is produced globally in a year. By 2028, cotton production is projected to reach 29 million tons. China is the largest cotton producer but still, they are the largest cotton importer. Bangladesh produces a minor amount of cotton locally, and imports almost 99% from different regions. Here you will get idea which country how much produce, import and export.

Global-cotton-production-import-export-analysis-2021-22
Figure: Cotton is the world’s most popular fiber for manufacturing clothing and various textile products. 

The four most common types of cotton produced are Gossypium hirsutum, Gossypium babadense, Gossypium arboretum, and Gossypium herbaceum. Beloved fabrics like denim, knit, corduroy, and terrycloth etc. are made from cotton.

Global cotton production in 2021-22

In the crop year 2021-22, cotton production in China amounted to around 5.88 million metric tons.

Cotton is a natural plant fiber which grows around the seed of the cotton plant. Fibers are used in the textile industry, where they are the starting point of the production chain. First, the cotton fiber is obtained from the cotton plant and then spun into yarn. From there, the cotton yarn is woven or knitted into fabric.

The use of cotton has a long tradition in the clothing industry due to its desirable characteristics. Cloths made of this fiber are moisture-absorbent, have a good drape and are known for their long durability. Consumers continue to purchase large amounts of cotton products as they prefer cotton’s light and comfortable qualities. Products made out of cotton range from highly absorbent bath towels over bed linens to basic clothes such as t-shirts, underwear or socks.

Leading cotton producing countries worldwide in 2021-22 (in 1,000 metric tons)

Country Production

(in 1,000 metric tons)

China 5879
India 5334
USA 3815
Brazil 2678
Pakistan 1306
Australia 1197
Turkiye 827
Uzbekistan 577
Argentina 327
Mali 311

The top cotton producing countries include China, India and the United States respectively. Within the United States, the Southern states traditionally harvest the largest quantities of cotton. This region was formerly known as the ‘Cotton Belt’, where cotton was the predominant cash crop from the 18th to the 20th century. Due to soil depletion and social and economic changes, cotton production has declined and acres in this region are now mainly used for crops such as corn, soybeans and wheat.

Being home to the largest population in the world makes China the largest producer, consumer, and importer of cotton. There are an estimated 300 million people involved in producing cotton in China.

India is often referred to as the birthplace of cotton, and the industry plays a significant role in the economy of the country. Even though India’s production ranked second in the last two years, the nation possesses more areas to cultivate cotton than China does. It is possible India will make a reappearance at the top of the list if all available areas are cultivated.

Most of the cotton produced in The United States comes from the country’s southern region. American farmers make full use of the tools available to help them harvest and cultivate cotton. The U.S. is a large importer of cotton due to the high demand for clothing and textiles.

Over the last 4 years, Brazil has more than doubled its cotton production. Though it experienced a slight dip in production due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they remain the 2nd largest exporter of cotton in the world. Roughly 92% of the cotton area in Brazil is not irrigated.

Pakistan’s cotton production has been consistent in recent years, but the growth rate has become stagnant. Over the next year, cotton production in the country is only expected to increase by a modest 2%.

Nearly 66% of Australian cotton is grown in New South Wales, with the remaining 34% being grown in Queensland. Australia produces enough cotton to clothe 500 million people in a typical year.

Turkiye currently has 1,986 licensed cotton farmers. Cotton production is essential to the country, but as a water-stressed nation, increasing the cotton harvest poses challenges to the farmers.

Top cotton importing countries in 2021-22

During 2021-22, Vietnam had imported approximately 1.48 million metric tons of cotton.

Cotton is a natural plant fiber which grows around the seed of the cotton plant. Fibers are used in the textile industry, where they are the starting point of the production chain. First, the cotton fiber is obtained from the cotton plant and then spun into yarn. From there, the cotton yarn is woven or knitted into fabric.

The processing of cotton has a long tradition in the clothing industry due to its desirable characteristics. Fabrics made of this fiber are moisture-absorbent, have a good drape and are known for their long durability. Consumers continue to buy large amounts of cotton products as they have a preference for cotton’s light and comfortable qualities. Goods made out of cotton range from highly absorbent bath towels and bed linens to basic clothing such as t-shirts, undergarments or socks.

The leading cotton producing countries include China, India and the United States respectively. Within the United States, the Southern states traditionally produce the largest amount of cotton. This area was formerly known as the ‘Cotton Belt’, where cotton was the predominant cash crop from the 18th to the

Leading cotton importing countries in 2021-22 (in 1,000 metric tons)

Country Quantity

(in 1,000 metric tons)

China 1785
Bangladesh 1742
Vietnam 1481
Turkiye 1208
Pakistan 980
Indonesia 555
Mexico 218
India 218
Thailand 158
Egypt 131

 Top cotton exporting countries in 2021-22

The United States was the leading exporter of cotton worldwide in 2021-22. In that time period, the U.S. cotton industry had an export volume of about 3.2 million metric tons.

Leading cotton exporting countries in 2021-22 (in 1,000 metric tons)

Country Quantity

(in 1,000 metric tons)

USA 3211
Brazil 1720
India 871
Australia 871
Greece 305
Benin 305
Ivory Coast 299
Mali 239
Burkina 174
Argentina 163

Benin is the largest cotton producer in West Africa. Cotton production increased by a dramatic 13.4% between 2017 and 2019. Increased cotton production has contributed to the consistent growth in Benin’s overall economy.

Greece primarily exports its cotton to other countries, with Turkiye being its major recipient. The soil in Greece is ideal for cultivating cotton and use modern equipment to expedite the planting process.

In 2021/2022, around 5.08 million metric tons of cottonseed oil was produced worldwide.

 *Data source STATISTA

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