International fashion summit in September to learn about Andalusian cotton – Agrónoma

International fashion summit in September to learn about Andalusian cotton – Agrónoma
International fashion summit in September to learn about Andalusian cotton – Agrónoma

In the province of Seville, The cotton is already developing and the first buds are beginning to appear. The earliest ones have even begun to show their first flowers, so producers are already applying fertilizers and irrigation, also in the province of Córdoba.

This is the situation of a crop that is starting this campaign with hope after two rather bad years. And not only at the Andalusian level: European cotton, which always looks to Andalusia as one of its main producing areas, is working not only to maintain the leadership in quality and exports, but also in implementing innovative initiatives such as ‘Eucotton’, which seeks environmental and social sustainability.

‘Eucotton’ is the major European cotton projectwhich unites the efforts of Spain and Greece with the intention of creating a great brand that guarantees the textile quality of European cotton.

In the case of Spain, Cotton provides quality employment to more than 5,500 families in Andalusia, main producer, as well as a significant number of qualified workers in the ginning mills that process the raw material (all located in the Andalusian region).

This traditional crop is often the main source of income for many Andalusian areas and towns. In fact, in 2023, about 1,000 tonnes of olive oil were produced in Spain. 16,000 tons of cotton fiberwith a sales value of around 15 million euros.

On the other hand, it should be noted that European cotton global exports amount to more than 700 million, and the EU is among the world’s leading exporters, making the product important not only for the producing regions, but also for the European economy as a whole.

The great European project

In this way, ‘Eucotton’ promoted by the European Cotton Alliance (ECA), brings together the entire cotton chain in Europe to ensure the quality and traceability of the fibre. “As consumers demand more sustainable products from brands, with shorter supply chains and strong social values, European cotton offers the textile and fashion industries an answer in their search for sustainable raw materials,” explain the promoters of the initiative.

Cotton laboratory at Las Lomas farm / Agronomist

Greece and Spain

On the one hand, cotton has always been part of the traditional way of life of different populations in both Greece and Spain (and, more specifically, Andalusia), the two countries where 100% of European cotton production is concentrated, providing quality employment and economic opportunities to thousands of workers for decades.

In addition, the cotton sector in Europe is taking important steps towards more sustainable agriculture. Not only is it one of the few cotton producers in the world that uses 100% non-GMO seeds, but its producers also adopt Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices to reduce pesticide use, and employ water control practices for regulated and sustainable water use. The entire production cycle is supervised by strict quality control criteria established by the European Union, which safeguard the processes for an environmentally friendly product. Finally, the proximity of the cotton production and processing areas to European brands is intended to reduce the carbon footprint of the final products for the consumer.

Cotton cultivation / Algosur

Sustainable production

And, in this scenario, Andalusia plays a fundamental role: in September, the Andalusian crop will be the subject of a ‘study trip’, in which, in collaboration with the Spanish cotton sector and the interprofessionalEspalgodón, important fashion brands will visit the production and processing areas to learn first-hand about sustainable cultivation and production methods.
Although details such as dates have not yet been finalized, the truth is that the initiative will serve to give A new boost to the Andalusian cotton sector, very famous and very competitive, but has lost market share in recent years due to the drought, which has affected both the quality and quantity of the harvest.

Espalgodón is made up of the three main agricultural organizations (Asaja, COAG and UPA), as well as the two cotton industry associations, which represent 100% of the cotton ginning industry, that is, the 8 industries that currently exist in Spain (Dafisa, Indesa, Coalsa, Las Lomas and Algosur in Aeda, and Eurosemillas, Surcotton and Algodonera Blanca Paloma in Adesur).

From the interprofessional organization they remind farmers that, at the time of harvesting, it is important to carry out “good defoliation and harvesting with a spindle machine” to meet the quality standards of European cotton, dictated through Eucotton.

“We trust that the campaign will be positive and that brings with it the recovery of the sector, overcoming the poor figures of the previous year. With sufficient water and the good work of cotton professionals, the crop should once again dye the Andalusian countryside white,” they highlight.

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