What’s cotton into you?
Cotton has a historical symbiosis with the Indian sub continent dating back to 3000 B.C.; being grown, spun and weaved in the Indus valley civilization. Even today cotton production plays a major role in Indian agriculture’s economic fortunes. Ruchi Shukla & Mishika Nayyar from Invest India write on ‘Cotton Textile Industry in India’ thus:
“India is the world’s largest cotton producer, accounting for ~38% of global cotton acreage and ~23% of global cotton production. It is also the second largest exporter (after the USA) and the second largest consumer (after China).”
Cotton has many interesting facts and notions woven around it through the ages. We dug into answers to some such fascinating questions about this ubiquitous commodity.
Why is cotton called white gold?
Among the 40 different varieties of cotton produced globally, extra long staple or ELS cottons such as Sea Island, Indian Suvin and Egyptian Giza 45 are considered the most luxurious varieties of cotton making them highly prized and the most expensive of all the cottons. Indian Suvin in particular is the jewel in the Indian cotton crown. Suvin is a hybrid of Sea Island cotton from St Vincent in the Caribbean, and an indigenous Indian variety called Sujatha. In comparison to the exuberance around gold jewellery in Indian culture, Suvin is often called ‘White Gold’. Only a few thousand bales of this superfine cotton are grown each year in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
Did cotton lead to the American civil war?
Before the beginnings of the cotton boom in the 1780s, North America had been a promising but marginal player in the global economy. On the eve of the Civil War, raw cotton constituted 61 percent of the value of all U.S. products shipped abroad. How so?
Sven Beckert, Laird Bell Professor of American History at Harvard University and the author of Empire of Cotton: A Global History notes in his book that it was the cotton industry that had catapulted the United States onto the centre stage of the world economy, building “the most successful agricultural industry in the States of America to have ever been contemplated or realized.”
The reason for America’s quick ascent to market dominance is attributed to elastic supplies of the three crucial ingredients that went into the production of raw cotton: labour, land, and credit. Sven points out that the requirement of abundant labour for cotton production incentivised the slave owners to maintain the status-quo in labour relations, in turn perpetuating the struggle between the favourable economic setup and the pressing need for social equality in the American society that eventually lead to the Civil War.
Does cotton crop require pest management?
Surveillance, identification and concerted approaches across the world in pest management continue to be challenged with new varieties of pests and large-scale management issues. Case in point being the winter of 2020 for the farmers in Gujarat, who had to shift away from picking cotton due to the widespread damage caused by pink bollworm disease. Insect pests destroying the whole cotton produce is something that field experts are still trying to solution for. Nonetheless, cotton has made an invaluable contribution to the field of pest management. Literature is abound with connections between cotton pest management and holistic model of integrated pest management (IPM) that focuses on striking a balance between cultural, mechanical, biological and chemical control methods. Today, IPM forms the core of agricultural pest management and is gradually evolving into an urban space subject as well.
We are sure you feel the same way as us when we say that cotton is not just the fabric of the dotting suit one aspires to wear to prom night but a priceless treasure with enriching imprints on the past, present and future of our race!
Stay tuned for more such insightful blogs on our website!
Till then, keep your surroundings pest-free and lives stress-free!