Cotton is an arable crop used mainly for fibre. The cottonseed, which remains after cotton is ginned, is used to produce oil for human consumption or oilseed cake for animal feed.
Currently, cotton is produced only in three member states on around 300.000 ha. Greece is the main cotton grower, with 80% of European cotton area, followed by Spain (mainly the region of Andalucia) with a share of 20%. Bulgaria produces cotton on less than 1.000 ha. Cotton production has ceased in Italy in 1991 and in Portugal in 1996.
Cotton has strong regional importance in the two main producing member states, Greece and Spain.
In 2017 extra EU-28 exports of cotton were practically unchanged in value (+0,3%), but in volume terms they slip by -3,1%. Greece increased its exports (+10,3% in value, +4,8% in volume), but Spain recorded poor results (-33,8% in value, -35,2% in volume).