TEXAS FARMERS TURN BACK THREAT OF MALATHION SPRAYING OF
A Boll Weevil Eradication Program proposed by state officials in
Texas threatened organic cotton crops with state-wide spraying of
malathion. The Organic Cotton Growers in Texas report that the
measure was stalled, and organic growers will be protected from
state-imposed mandatory IPM for three years. For more
information, call the Texas Organic Cotton Growers at 806-439-6646.
PRODUCTION INCREASING IN U.S., GLOBALLY
United States analysts report that record-breaking cotton prices and
strong demand is encouraging U.S. growers to plant significantly
more cotton this year. Cotton prices have spiked up past $1 a pound
for the first time since the U.S. Civil War.
Carl Anderson, cotton marketing specialist at Texas A&M University,
said, "We have such good contracts based on 80 cents and above [per
pound] for the farmer that theyUve gone out to the fields and plowed
up newly planted grains and planted cotton instead."
U.S. farmers plan an 18 percent increase in cotton acreage this year.
"New technology is creating new demand," says commodities broker
Keith Brown of Moultrie, GA. He cited the popularity of wrinkle-free
cotton apparel and plans by some manufacturers to produce cotton
carpeting and even 100 percent cotton toilet paper.
Global shortages of cotton have caused U.S. cotton exports to boom.
China was rumored to have bought nearly 300,000 480-pound bales
after failing to secure supplies from the former Soviet republic of
Uzbekistan, the only other source of sizable amounts of high-quality
The International Cotton Advisory Committee reports that globally,
cotton production in 1995-96 is projected at 19.32 million tons, up
from 18.33 million tons in 1994-95.
"Bigger World Cotton Crop Forecast Next Season," FINANCIAL TIMES,
April 4, 1995; "U.S. Cotton Planting Boom Forecast," FINANCIAL
TIMES, March 29, 1995; "Cotton Prices Keep Climbing," AP April 7,
1995; "Cotton Prices Gyrate, End Higher," REUTER, April 4, 1995.
ORGANIC COTTON MARKET SHARE ESTIMATES
Organic cotton is expected to gain five to 10 percent of the market
share of all cotton products by the end of the decade, according to
Philip Wakelyn of the United States National Cotton Council. Organic
cotton is gaining popularity due to marketing efforts responding to
new consumer preferences. Conventional cotton growers argue that
their product was already natural, Wakelyn said.
"'Organic' Cotton May Gain Market Share," REUTER, March 2, 1994.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has granted limited
registration for genetically engineered corn, cotton and potatoes that
produce their own pesticides. All three plants contain genetic
information from a type of bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt).
Genes from Bt are introduced into the cotton plant, which then
produces an insect toxin ("delta endotoxin") identical to that
produced naturally in the bacterium. This delta endotoxin affects
insects when ingested, but not mammals, specifically the cotton
bollworm, the tobacco budworm and pink bollworm.
EPA believes that plant pesticides can reduce the use of conventional
pesticides and generally result in less risk to public health and the
environment. The Union of Concern Scientists (UCS) said the decision
was made "in deference to industry requests." According to
Margaret Mellon of UCS, "The greater harm will be to organic farmers
who will lose a very valuable tool once the Bt crops render the
natural spray ineffective."
Monsanto Co. of St. Louis has registered the Bt insecticidal cotton
This technology is precluded by genetically engineered cotton that
tolerates the weed killer bromoxynil. Called BXN cotton, the variety
was developed by the French chemical maker Rhone-Poulence and
Davis, California-based Calgene, Inc. This product allows growers to
eliminate weeds without harming the cotton plant.
Environmentalists are unhappy about this product. "Agricultural
biotechnology is clearly being used to entrench, not reduce, reliance
on toxic chemical pesticides," said Rebecca Goldburg, a biologist with
the Environmental Defense Fund.
Michelle Thom, "New Product News," INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AND
BIODIVERSITY NEWS, April 12, 1995; "EPA Clears Three Genetically
Altered Crops That Will Repel Pests," NEW YORK TIMES, April 11,
1995; "Fresh Picked Farm Facts," GANNETT NEWS SERVICE, February
Organic Industry News
MERRIGAN APPOINTED TO NOSB
Kathleen Merrigan, Senior Policy Analyst at the Wallace Institute,
was recently appointed to a 5-year term on the National Organic
Standards Board (NOSB). The NOSB will be meeting in late April in
Orlando, Florida to consider materials for organic production.
"Kathleen Merrigan Named to National Organic Standards Board,"
ALTERNATIVE AGRICULTURE, April 1995.
DUTCH CONSUMER ASSOCIATION SAYS BO WEEVIL T-SHIRT IS BEST
Bo Weevil is a Dutch company started by organic food wholesalers in
the 1980's. Its objectives are to stimulate, initiate and manage
projects in the field of sustainable cotton and textile production. Bo
Weevil's cotton t-shirt was recently selected "best-tested"/"best
choice" of 30 brands by the Dutch Consumer Association. Bo Weevil
supplies the textile industry with baled cotton, linters, yarn, fabrics
and some finished articles.
For more information, contact:
Bo Weevil BV
Postbus 236, 3850 AE Ermelo, The Netherlands (phone) 31-0-3417-
62767 (fax) 31-0-3417-62913.
Teresa Urban, from Brasil, is looking for information and case studies
on technology and organic cotton production. She is looking for
information that can improve her ability to assist farmers in organic
agriculture projects in Parana State, one of the most important
agriculture states in southern Brasil.
Please forward any information to:
REDE VERDE DE INFORMAOES AMBIENTAIS
R. Brigadeiro Franco, 549
Phone & Fax: 55-41-222-9740
"Standards for Sustainable Textile Producers." Skal, the Dutch
standard-setting agency for organic cotton, has published their
overall report on standards for the processing of natural fibers, "The
Skal Standards for Sustainable Textile Production." Contact Skal for
ordering information. Skal, Stationsplein 5, P.O. Box 384, 8000 AJ
Zwolle, The Netherlands (phone) 31-0-38-226-866 (fax) 31-0-38-
"Nordic Environmental Labeling: Eco-Labeling of Textiles, 1994."
Swedish Standards Institution (SIS). Nordic Council of Ministers
adopted measures to implement voluntary, positive environmental
labeling in 1989. This document examines effects of textile
production and includes criteria for eco-labeling of cotton, wool, flax,
and synthetic fibers. Also provides list of pesticides not allowed in
production of eco-labeled textiles. This document is available for no
charge from SIS Miljomarkning, Box 3295, S-103 66, Stockholm,
Sweden (phone) 46-8-613-52-00 (fax) 46-8-21-30-70.
Produced by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Mark
Ritchie, President. Editor: Kate Hoff, e-mail <email@example.com>. E-mail
versions are available free of charge to Econet and IATPnet
subscribers. For information about fax or mail subscriptions or for a
list of other IATP publications, contact the Institute for Agriculture
and Trade Policy, 1313 5th St. SE, Suite 303, Minneapolis, MN 55414.
612-379-5980, fax: 612-379-5982, e-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org>. For
information about IATP's contract research services, contact Dale
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