Cotton is still a principal raw material for the world's textile industry, but its dominant position has been seriously eroded by synthetic fibres. Increased globle production, emergence of synthetics as an alternative to cotton textiles and improved productivity are mainly contributing for world supply. World demand for cotton continued to be erratic, and some groups lobbied for increased price-supports, but an upward trend began in the 1980s.
World production of cotton in the early 1990s stood at 18.9 million metric tons annually. The leading producers include China, India, USA, Pakistan, Brazil, and Turkey. Cotton textile commands a significant share in exports from India. It accounts for nearly 22% of the total exports.