The history of cotton is not clear and nobody knows exactly how old the crop is. Scientists who found pieces of cotton balls and cloth in Mexico date it to as at least 7,000 years old. In Pakistan, the crop had been grown since 3,000 years BC. At about the same time, it was already being used for clothing in the Nile Valley. Accordingly, it was brought to Europe about 800 AD. Columbus found cotton growing in the Bahama islands in 1492. The crop was known around the world by 1500.

Cotton is a leading cash crop and is used not only for fiber but also as a source of oil for human consumption and the by-products are used for livestock, poultry and animal feed as well as fertilizer. About 50% of the world's total cotton requirements are produced in Asia.

Cotton production is associated with heavy use of chemicals to control pests, sometimes with at least 50 percent of production costs going to pesticides. Besides affecting farmers' health, this practice makes cotton a major polluter crop, makes pest management actually more difficult with pest resurgence and secondary pest attack, worsens the imbalance in the ecosystem and thus lowers yields and income. Genetically modified cotton has been developed and is now being used to reduce reliance on pesticides. However, its safety to the environment remains an issue.

More information about cotton can be found in :

Click the list below for more crop specific information

  1. General Information: Origin, distribution etc.

  2. Production / Productivity
  3. Cotton pests / diseases
  4. Post Harvest: