The amount of organic cotton grown by farmers around the world increased by 152% in 2007/08, a new report says, driven mainly by the growing demand for organic cotton from retailers around the world.

According to the 'Organic Cotton Farm and Fiber Report 2008,' produced by Lubbock, Texas-based Organic Exchange (OE), organic cotton production rose to 145,872 metric tons (MT) (668,581 bales) grown on 161,000 hectares in 22 countries worldwide.

Approximately 60% of the total represents expansion of known projects while the remaining 40% comes from new projects becoming certified or that were previously unknown.

"Farmers and retailers are starting to work hand in hand to drive the conversion to and expansion of the organic cotton market," said LaRhea Pepper, OE executive director.

Simon Ferrigno, OE Farm Development Program director and lead author of the report, added that: "With forward contracts, price security, and increased research and education, the amount of organic cotton production will continue to increase rapidly."

India, Syria, Turkey, China, Tanzania, USA, Uganda, Peru, Egypt and Burkina Faso were the top ten organic cotton producing countries in order by rank, with India taking over Turkey's long-time standing as the number one producer.

The majority of the increased organic cotton production took place in India. Organic cotton production has grown to an estimated 0.55% of global cotton production, the report said.