Ranked: The World’s Top Cotton Producers
Cotton is present in our everyday life, from clothes to coffee strainers, and more recently in masks to control the spread of COVID-19.
As the most-used natural fiber, cotton has become the most important non-food agricultural product. Currently, approximately half of all textiles require cotton fibers.
The above infographic lists the world’s top cotton producers, using data from the United States Department of Agriculture.
Originating from the Arabic word “quton,” meaning fancy fabric, cotton is a staple fiber made up of short fibers twisted together to form yarn.
The earliest production of cotton was around 5,000 B.C. in India, and today, around 25 million tons of cotton are produced each year.
Currently, five countries make up around 75% of global cotton production, with China being the world’s biggest producer. The country is responsible for over 23% of global production, with approximately 89 million cotton farmers and part-time workers. Cotton’s importance cannot be understated, as it is the primary input for the Chinese textile industry along with many other nations’ textile industries.
|Top Cotton Producers||2020/2021 (metric tons)||2021/2022 (metric tons)|
|🇺🇸 United States||3,181,000||3,815,000|
The United States is the leading global exporter of cotton, exporting three-fourths of its crop with China as the top buyer.
Despite its importance for the global economy, cotton production faces significant sustainability challenges.
The Controversy Over Cotton
Cotton is one of the largest users of water among all agricultural commodities, and production often involves applying pesticides that threaten soil and water quality.
Along with this, production often involves forced and child labor. According to the European Commission, child labor in the cotton supply chain is most common in Africa and Asia, where it comes from small-holder farmers.
In 2020, U.S. apparel maker Patagonia stopped sourcing cotton from the autonomous territory of Xinjiang because of reports about forced labor and other human rights abuses against Uighurs and other ethnic minorities.
L Brands, the parent company of Victoria’s Secret, has also committed to eliminating Chinese cotton from its supply chain. Whether these changes in supply chains impact China’s cotton production and its practices, cotton remains essential to materials found across our daily lives.
Ranked: World’s Biggest Wine Producers by Country
We break down the major wine producers of the world by country and how much they contribute to world wine supply.
Ranked: World’s Biggest Wine Producers By Country
“Wine gives a man fresh strength when he is wearied”—Homer, The Iliad
Wine has been in our cups, in our thoughts, and in our poems for many a millennia, from the antics of Dionysus, the Greek god of wine, to its symbolism in the Last Supper. But breaking down the biggest wine producers by country in the modern era leads to some interesting surprises.
This infographic by Alberto Rojo Moro uses data from the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV) to visualize where wine production is concentrated in the world.
We take a quick look below.
The Top Wine Producers By Country in 2022
At the top of the list, Italy produced nearly 50 million hectoliters—or about 1,994 Olympic-sized swimming pools—of wine in 2022, accounting for nearly one-fifth of total production in the year. Less than half of that wine was sent to overseas markets, also making Italy the biggest exporter of the beverage by volume.
The country’s long coastline results in a moderate climate, allowing winemaking to occur in 20 different regions in Italy, with Veneto, Apulia, Emilia-Romagna, and Sicily leading in production.
Other known wine connoisseur countries—France (45.6 hectoliters) and Spain (35.8 million hectoliters)—rank second and third in wine production respectively. Together these three countries make up half of the world’s wine supply.
Here’s a full list of the world’s biggest wine producers by country.
|% of Total
|8||🇿🇦 South Africa||Africa||10,155||3.93%|
|13||🇳🇿 New Zealand||Oceania||3,830||1.48%|
|22||🇲🇰 North Macedonia||Europe||936||0.36%|
|30||🇨🇿 Czech Republic||Europe||586||0.23%|
Note: Percentages may not sum to 100% due to rounding.
The U.S., ranked 4th, is the top wine producer from the Americas, beating out other wine-producing countries like Chile (6th) and Argentina (7th).
South Africa, ranked 8th, is one of only four African countries in the dataset as winemaking isn’t as widespread on the continent as other regions in the world.
Meanwhile, China (ranked 12th) is the top wine producer from Asia. The region’s preference for other distilled spirits helps explain why the next two biggest Asian wine producers, Japan (23rd) and Türkiye (29th) occupy the middle ranks.
Unsurprisingly, European countries account for two-thirds of the world’s wine supply, followed by the Americas (20%) and then Oceania (6%).
Climate Concerns for Future Wine Production
Wine production has stayed relatively stable for the last decade but climate change is coming for this industry as well.
According to the New York Times, warmer temperatures are both a blessing and curse for winemakers. Some areas once deemed too inhospitable for grapevines (like England) are starting to show potential for certain varietals and wines. At the same time, in some traditional regions, prolonged warmer weather is leading to overripening, forcing winemakers to limit the grapes’ exposure to sunlight.
And the general weather anomalies caused by climate change—floods, droughts, wildfires—all make wine production just a little more difficult than it already is.
Which prompts a question worth pouring a glass of wine over to ponder: which wine producing countries will survive, adapt, languish or thrive in the coming decades?
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