Cotton is the world’s most popular fiber for manufacturing clothing and various textiles. Currently, an estimated 25 million tons of cotton is being produced worldwide. The four most common types of cotton produced are Gossypium hirsutum, Gossypium babadense, Gossypium arboretum, and Gossypium herbaceum. Beloved fabrics like denim, corduroy, and terrycloth are made from cotton. One bale of cotton is equivalent to 480 pounds, and as the largest cotton producer in the world, China harvested more than 6.4 million tons of cotton in 2021.
Here is an overview of the biggest global cotton producers as of 2022.
1. China - 6,423,000 tons
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.
2. India - 6,162,000 tons
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.
3. The United States of America - 3,181,000 tons
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.
4. Brazil - 2,341,000 tons
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.
5. Pakistan - 980,000 tons
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%.
6. Uzbekistan - 762,000 tons
Aside from being the world’s 3rd largest cotton exporter, Uzbekistan has gained recognition for eliminating forced child labor from its cotton cultivation. Currently, most of the cotton production is done by small farmers.
7. Turkey - 631,000 tons
Turkey 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.
8. Australia - 610,000 tons
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.
9. Benin - 316,000 tons
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.
10. Greece - 305,000 tons
Greece primarily exports its cotton to other countries, with Turkey being its major recipient. The soil in Greece is ideal for cultivating cotton and use modern equipment to expedite the planting process.