Picking Cotton

The choice between organic and genetically-engineered cotton for farmers in South India

Publication - 15 June, 2010
This case study shows the economic stability and benefit for Indian farmers of farming cotton organically and without genetic engineering and toxic chemicals.

Millions of Indian farmers are dependent on the money brought in by their annual cotton crop. The cotton crop represents by far the largest income for these households, and in nearly all cases is crucial for the farmer’s family’s survival. In India, cotton represents one of the most economically important commodities in the country and it is central to the livelihood of the many millions of farmers who grow cotton every year. Cotton is one of the major traded commodities worldwide, with a global export value of about $12 billion US dollars, similar to the global export value of a staple grain as important as rice (FAOSTATS 2010). When the cotton fields fail to produce a good crop, as in the dry year of 2009, millions of Indian farmers and their families are left in deep economic distress.


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