The World Cotton Day, celebrated annually on October 7 by the World Trade Organization (WTO), serves as a platform to underscore the global importance of cotton.

This year marked the third official UN World Cotton Day, with a specific theme, “Making cotton fair and sustainable for all from farm to fashion.”

This theme highlights the significance of sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, along with full and productive employment.

Cotton, a commonly worn fabric known for its comfort, hypoallergenic properties, breathability, and durability, represents much more than just a commodity.

World Cotton Day 2023, was commemorated at the Vienna International Centre under the banner of an event titled “Advancing Fair and Sustainable Cotton, from Field to Fashion.”

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This occasion was organized in partnership with the Secretariats of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in collaboration with the Secretariats of the WTO.

And the International Trade Centre (ITC), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC).

The event placed a spotlight on the pivotal role played by the cotton sector in fostering economic development, facilitating international trade, and mitigating poverty.

It also emphasized the significance of inclusive and sustainable economic growth, the promotion of full and productive employment, and the provision of decent work opportunities for all.

It has a profound global impact, sustaining 32 million growers, nearly half of whom are women, and benefiting over 100 million families across 80 countries on five continents.

While developed economies recognize the value of cotton, it plays a pivotal role as a safety net for least-developed and developing countries.

The origins of World Cotton Day trace back to 2019 when the Cotton Four, comprised of cotton-producing countries in sub-Saharan Africa (Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, and Mali), proposed its celebration on October 7 to the World Trade Organization.

The official recognition of World Cotton Day by the United Nations now carries greater significance.

It raises awareness regarding the necessity of market access for cotton and cotton-related products from least-developed countries, fosters sustainable trade policies, and empowers developing nations to reap greater benefits from every facet of the cotton value chain.

In this mission, various UN agencies have played active roles. The International Trade Centre (ITC) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) have collaborated.

The Cotton Four focuses on optimizing production, enhancing local processing capacity, and addressing trade reforms to eliminate barriers and inequalities for cotton producers in developing countries.

Furthermore, in the global cotton industry, Pakistan holds a prominent position, ranking as the fifth largest cotton producer worldwide.

Pakistan’s influence extends beyond production. It ranks as the third largest consumer of cotton on a global scale, demonstrating its robust demand for this versatile natural fiber.

In addition to consumption, Pakistan also excels in cotton processing. It is the third largest yarn producer globally, reflecting its strong capabilities in transforming raw cotton into valuable yarn products.

Notably, Pakistan also plays a pivotal role in the international trade of cotton-related products. It stands as the second largest yarn exporter globally, highlighting its capacity to supply yarn to various markets.

Additionally, Pakistan is the third largest exporter of cloth, showcasing its proficiency in producing finished textile goods.

On World Cotton Day, Mohsin Naqvi, the Acting Chief Minister of Punjab, posted a tweet celebrating cotton, which is not only an integral part of our lives but also a fundamental component of our economy.

This year, we have made history by cultivating this essential crop on an impressive 5 million acres of land. This accomplishment has resulted in a remarkable saving of $3 billion in foreign exchange.

Our achievement in cotton production is closely connected to the growth of Punjab’s textile industry. With a plentiful supply of raw materials, we are on the verge of a textile revolution that will generate employment opportunities and stimulate economic growth.

Pakistan’s significance in the cotton industry encompasses various facets, from its substantial cotton production to its strong presence in processing, yarn production, and textile exports, positioning it as a key player in the global cotton and textile market.