Cotton is grown on every continent, in a broad range of environmental conditions and under widely disparate conditions of production. It is an important raw material for a highly varied and profitable value creation chain, and it is traded on commodities markets throughout the world. Cotton is at the center of the dispute surrounding agricultural subsidies, and it is an important tool in development aid. International chemical companies have just as much interest in it as do the advocates of ecological farming, since it consumes more water, fertilizer, and pesticides than any other crop.
Cotton was already traveling around the world from producer to consumer in colonial times; all that has changed today is the routes it follows. Thus in one common scenario, cotton fibers from Texas are sent to China to be processed, then wend their way to the fashion runways of Paris, and finally travel as old clothes to Africa, where they are worn as secondhand fashion.
Hans Peter Jost has created a photographic portrait of cotton on his trips to India, China, Brazil, America, Uzbekistan, Mali, and Tanzania, documenting the lives and working conditions of cotton farmers and the cultivation, harvesting, processing, and marketing of cotton.
Christina Kleineidam, who accompanied the photographer on his travels, describes what they saw and offers background information on the specific problems of the individual countries. The economist Pietra Rivoli explains the global realities of the cultivation and marketing of cotton in her foreword.
Author(s): Christina Kleineidam, Hans Peter Jost
Forword by Pietra Rivoli
With photographs by Hans Peter Jost
With contributions by Christina Kleineidam
Design: Integral Lars Müller