Agriculture problems - a Feature on Cotton | WWF

Agriculture problems - a Feature on Cotton

Where jeans and cotton come from

Freshwater and your favourite jeans...

Where does cotton come from? How is it harvested? How much water is used to produce cotton? cotton keeps us cool in warm weather but the way we produce cotton is harming the environment. And so far there is little evidence that genetically modified transgenic cotton is more environmentally-friendly.

Transgenic cotton has been cultivated worldwide for four years. In 1999, transgenic cotton was planted in only two of the six top cotton-producing countries, with the United States as the leader. Current statistical data for the U.S. provided by the National Agricultural Statistics Service reveal no correlation between transgenic cotton adoption rate and change in the overall amount of insecticides or herbicides.

Four years of cultivation of transgenic cotton is a short period for a proper environmental impact assessment, assuming that adaptation of new agricultural practices to transgenic cotton requires several years. Therefore, it stands to reason that current trends should be interpreted with caution. But the most reliable data for the past two years provides little evidence that transgenic cotton may contribute to a more sustainable and environmental-friendly cotton farming. In future, better statistical data will in future help to assess the "environmental performance" of transgenic cotton varieties.

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