Egypt has moderate climate throughout the year, which is the best for cotton plantation and production of high-quality products. Among the species of cotton that is grown in Egypt is the Bardadence that is known for its thin yarn and long fibers. Thin yarns give a higher thread count per square inches, while the longer fibers are the best for enhancing the quality of yarn. Another factor that has made Egyptian cotton the best in the world is that it is hand-picked. Therefore, this preserves the cotton much better due to less stress on the fiber during the time of harvesting.

Producing Cotton in an Environmental Friendly Way

Cotton sheets that are manufactured in Egypt are strong, soft, and durable thus making the best quality in the world. Commercial production of cotton started in1820. This was after the local species of cotton was replaced by better quality and a drought resistance species. Britain and France were the major importers of cotton from Egypt, therefore, they played a major role in revolutionizing the agriculture industry in Egypt. The government of Egypt has played a big part in producing cotton in an environmental friendly way. The government prohibited the use of pesticides and other chemicals in production.

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Cotton is a plant that belongs to the family that includes okra and hibiscus. Cotton plants produce vegetable fibers that are used in making clothes. There are four commercially grown species of cotton in the world. They include Gossypium herbaceum that is a native breed of Arabian Peninsula and Southern Africa. Its production is less than 2% of the total cotton produced in the world. The second species is Gossypium arboretum that is believed to be originated from Pakistan and India. It constitutes less than 2% of the total world production. Gossypium bardadense is the third species of cotton. The species originated from South America and constitute 9% of the world production. The last species of cotton is Gossypium hirsutum that is believed to originate from Mexico, Central America, Southern Florida and Caribbean. The species constitute 90% of the world cotton produced. The paper discusses the history of cotton production in Egypt, when Egypt started exporting cotton, and the different methods that should be applied in cotton production in order to be environmental friendly.

Research Statements

  • To find out the history of cotton production in Egypt.
  • To find out when cotton was discovered in Egypt.
  • To find out when Egypt started importing cotton.
  • To find out environmental friendly ways of producing cotton.

Research Questions

  • What is the history of cotton in Egypt?
  • When was cotton discovered in Egypt?
  • When did Egypt start importing cotton?
  • What are the environmental friendly ways of producing cotton?
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History and the Discovery of Cotton in Egypt

Although there are many scholars who believed that cotton was planted in Egypt thousands of years ago, the popular high-quality cotton that is grown in Egypt was not known during the ancient time. The Egyptian cotton gained a world-wide reputation more than a century ago due to its highest lint quality. There is little information about the cotton in Egypt before 1820, therefore, we cannot talk much about this period (Goldschmidt, 2008, p.15). The year 1820 is considered to be the birth date of the Egyptian cotton. During this year, the first yield of cotton was harvested.

The founder of the modern Egypt Mohammed Ali was the one who introduced the commercial production of cotton in 1822(Abdel-Salam, M & Mohamed, 2009, p. 4). Before this period, Egypt had a native species of cotton that was called baladi, which was a low quality for the international market. Therefore, the demand for it in the European countries was low since it could not withstand milling and ginning processes in the factories.

In 1819, the Frenchman named Jumel, who had traveled to America and knew something about cotton production arrived to Egypt (Kamel). Jumel tried to persuade Mohammed Ali about an Ethiopian breed of cotton called Maho that could be planted in Egypt and revolutionize the agriculture industry. Although he was not able to convince the Egyptian leader, Jamel and local merchants planted Maho in Egypt in 1820. The same year, Jamel and his group harvested more than three bales of cotton that was shipped to Trieste. After this production, the Egyptian leader was convinced that Jamel’s idea was good for revolutionizing the agriculture sector. Jamel was later appointed by Mohammed Ali to be in charge of his cotton plantations.

In 1822, American technologies arrived to Egypt to show the Egyptian leader different types of cotton gin, a new technology that could be used in the cotton plantations (Kingsley, 2015). Mohammed Ali preferred a roller gin, but the machine was not successful in the cotton plantation. At this period, all cotton in Egypt belonged to Mohammed Ali, and he decided to expand his plantations over the delta. He later began selling the crop each year at a fixed priced and capital flowed to his country.

The country generated a lot of money that created a new European interest in colonizing Egypt. Egypt was turned a single-crop colony, and it was a source of raw materials for manufacturing industries in Europe. However, at this point, Mohammed Ali was the one who controlled huge revenue that was generated by cotton. Due to a lot of money that was generated by cotton industry, the credit system was brought to Cairo. The Egyptian leader was enticed by the European banks to borrow money that often had exorbitant interest rates. The money was to modernize and industrialize Egypt. Even though Egypt had huge debt, it was modernized using the borrowed money.

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One important factor in the Egyptian cotton history is the presence of river Nile. Egypt is a desert and without the presence of river Nile, no agricultural activities would be done in this country. The moderate climate condition of Egypt also plays a major role in the cotton production. Today, Egypt still grows cotton heavily both in the southern and northern parts. Nevertheless, the high-quality cotton is mostly produced for export while the lower quality cotton is produced for domestic consumption. The market price of Egyptian cotton is higher compared to other cotton produced by other countries. The higher price is due to how the cotton is processed and its long fiber structure.

Cotton Export in Egypt

After the high quality of cotton species were introduced in Egypt in 1820, cotton production increased exponentially. The demand for cotton was high in both the local and international market. Between the years 1861 to 1865, America experienced Civil War that made Egypt be the leading exporter of cotton to European nations. The period was a golden age for Egyptian cotton export. A rail line was built during this period to improve the transportation of cotton from the plantations to the port. The major exporter of cotton from Egypt was Great Britain. Britain became the leading exporter of Egyptian cotton after it invested heavily in the cotton economy.

Britain sent cotton gins, steam plow, packing presses just to mention a few in order to improve cotton production. As a result, the cotton industry boomed and this also increased the number of British immigrants to Egypt. In 1879, France and Britain colonized Egypt but this did not stop the cotton production (Warnick, 2012). Major improvements were made in the cotton industry, and the export increases significantly during this time. Currently, Egypt is the leading exporter of cotton in Africa. Cotton remains the major cash crop of Egypt.

The Environmentally Friendly Ways to Produce Cotton

Pollution is a major concern across the world. The major negative effect of pollution is global warming (Kozlov, 2009, p.3). Other effects of pollution cause damage to the human and animal health, plants as well as the environment. All types of pollutions have a negative effect on the living organism. Therefore, there is a need of using environmental friendly ways of growing cotton as explained below.

Egypt practices growing organic cotton. It is estimated that more than 20% of the world’s pesticides in cotton production (Pearson, 2000, p.15). Therefore, this have made cotton plantation be among the major pollutants of the environment. The government of Egypt passed a law that prohibits the use of pesticides in cotton production. Instead, the country produces organic cotton that is grown without synthetic or toxic chemical inputs. Therefore, this has led to the conservation of the environment where cotton is grown in Egypt.

Cotton produced in Egypt is of high quality. Production of finished cotton requires energy and water and all of them are natural resources. The government has understood that producing high-quality cotton makes the finished products last for long. Therefore, no frequent production is done hence it is eco-friendly.

Machines that are used for cotton harvesting produce a lot of noise and smoke as they run on the plantations thus causing pollution (Lesley, C & Hallberg 2010, p. 24). In addition, the cotton yarns produced are weak to withstand other manufacturing processes in the factory. Therefore, this led to the production of low-quality cotton products. To avoid this, there are no machines that are used for harvesting of cotton in the plantation. Human labor only is used during the harvest time.

Plant wastes are used as source of manure. As stated earlier no fertilizers are allowed in growing of cotton in Egypt. The government encourages farmers to use organic manure in their plantation (Hill, T 2010). Therefore, this has reduced land and water pollution in these plantations.

Recommendations

  1. Since cotton uses a lot of water in processing, there should be recycling of water. A lot of water is used for planting cotton to the time when it became finished products. The government should come up with the best way to reduce the amount of water used during cotton production. The best alternative should be recycling of water.
  2. The energy source for production companies is mainly from hydro-electric which is a non-renewable source of power. The government should increase other sources of energy such as wind power and solar panels that are eco-friendly. Production of eco-friendly energy can be achieved by installing more wind turbines alongside crops. The energy generated by these turbines can be enough to power the farm and also cotton factories.
  3. The government should educate cotton farmers on the best way to use the farmyard waste. For example, people should be encouraged to produce more energy from the waste by converting it to biogas. Biogas is made of methane, a compound that gives natural gas its power. Biogas can be a source of energy for both factories and homesteads.
  4. People should also be encouraged to recycle clothes that they do not fit in and also repairing clothes rather than buying new ones. Production of finished cotton products involves the use of energy and water that are non-renewable. Recycling clothes and repairing them would preserve these sources of energy.

Conclusion

Cotton production in Egypt started over two hundred years ago. The cotton farming was initially for domestic use but in 1820, Egypt started cultivating cotton for commercial purposes. Mohammed Ali, who was the Egyptian leader at this time, was encouraged by Britain and France to borrow more money from their financial institutions in order to improve cotton production. The money that he borrowed was used to modernize and industrialize Egypt, therefore, increasing cotton production. Unlike other cotton producers, Egypt does not allow the use of chemicals and fertilizers in their plantation. The country encourages organic cotton farming where farmyard manure is used. Eco-farming is one way that the government encourages farmers to be environmental friendly. Since the cotton was commercialized, Egypt is among the leading exporter of the high-quality cotton in the market.

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