IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/spr/agrhuv/v19y2002i4p325-336.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Producing the natural fiber naturally: Technological change and the US organic cotton industry

Author

Listed:
  • Mrill Ingram

Abstract

Organic cotton productionboomed in the early 1990s only to fall steeplymid-decade. Production is currently rising, butslowly, and has yet to reach previous levels.This is in marked contrast to the steady growthin organic food production during the 1990s.Why, when other areas of organic productionexperienced steady growth, did organic cottonexperience a boom and bust? A study of thecotton production and processing industryreveals a long and heavily industrializedproduction chain that has presented numerouschallenges to growers and processors trying tointroduce an organic product. In addition, muchof the surge in demand for organic cotton clothoriginated with clothing manufacturersresponding to increased consumer environmentalconcern and interest in improving theirenvironmental reputations. This demandevaporated when clothing companies encountereda lack of consumer awareness of theenvironmental costs of conventional cottonproduction and the benefits of organic cotton.Organic clothing lines were abandoned and manycotton farmers, left with no market for theirorganic bales, were forced to either store thebales or sell them on the conventional marketfor a loss. An examination of the social andtechnical aspects of organic cotton productionidentifies some of the critical variables, suchas the risks farmers face in agriculturalproduction, the organic standards, sources ofinnovation in technological change, and the roleof consumer demand in supporting moresustainable technology, all of which shape thecontinuing development of organic products. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Suggested Citation

  • Mrill Ingram, 2002. "Producing the natural fiber naturally: Technological change and the US organic cotton industry," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 19(4), pages 325-336, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:agrhuv:v:19:y:2002:i:4:p:325-336
    DOI: 10.1023/A:1021140001193
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1023/A:1021140001193
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Laura Raynolds, 2000. "Re-embedding global agriculture: The international organic and fair trade movements," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 17(3), pages 297-309, September.
    2. Patricia Allen & Martin Kovach, 2000. "The capitalist composition of organic: The potential of markets in fulfilling the promise of organic agriculture," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 17(3), pages 221-232, September.
    3. Greene, Catherine R., 2001. "U.S. Organic Farming Emerges in the 1990s: Adoption of Certified Systems," Agricultural Information Bulletins 33777, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:spr:agrhuv:v:19:y:2002:i:4:p:325-336. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sonal Shukla) or (Rebekah McClure). General contact details of provider: http://www.springer.com .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.