How is organic cotton different from conventional cotton?
More than half of the cotton fiber needs are fulfilled by cotton which has made cotton the most popular fiber in the world. But as the demand for cotton is growing worldwide, farmers are adopting unethical and artificial ways of growing cotton to keep up with the cotton demand. Here organic cotton plays a very important role. Let’s talk about how organic cotton is different from conventional cotton:
• Cotton purity: Picking process of conventional cotton balls during the harvesting process is done either by using hands or by using machines. The usage of machines not only affects the quality of cotton balls but also creates a lot of wastage during the process. Instead in organic cotton harvesting, since the cotton balls are hand-picked hence the quality is maintained.
• Soil requirement: Organic cotton is always grown in healthy soil which is made fertile without the use of synthetic fertilizers. Various eco-friendly processes like efficient nutrient recycling, use of bio-compost, frequent crop rotations, etc are followed to make the soil healthy and fertile naturally.
Labor requirement: Harvesting of conventional cotton is done both by using machines and farmers to speed up the harvesting process but the harvesting of organic cotton is done by hands. A lot of pesticides and fertilizers are used in the process of growing conventional cotton which is very bad for the health of farmers as they do not know how to protect themselves from these chemicals and often suffer from many lifelong illnesses.
• Pest and weed control: In conventional farming, synthetic pesticides and weedicides are used to control the growth of weeds and pests while farming. But in the case of organic farming natural methods like beneficial predatory insects, rotation of crops, intercropping is used along with natural and biological pesticides like neem oil.
• Type of seed used: In conventional farming, genetically modified seeds are used which are also known as GMO (Genetically Modified Organism). These types of seeds are modified in such a way that they are resistant to bugs and crop-eating insects. But the main drawback of these seeds is that stronger pesticides have to be used to protect the crops from stronger bugs. This affects the quality of crops very badly. On the other hand, organic cotton farming uses natural seeds where synthetic pesticides and chemicals are not needed or are replaced by pest-eating insects. This not only keeps the crops healthy and free from chemicals but the end product is also much safer.
• Manufacturing process: During the manufacturing process of organic cotton, synthetic dues are replaced by natural or water-based dyes and chemical whiteners are replaced by peroxides. This not only makes the end product softer and safer but also the products last for a much longer time.