| ||Sanganer, a city 10 mi (16 km) from Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, is renowned not only for its rich architectural heritage of medieval temples and residences, but also for the importance and high quality of its textile industry. After the weaving of the raw material—silk or cotton—and before any prints are made, the fabric is starched and dried outdoors in order to make the dyeing by Chhipa women as brilliant as possible. In Rajasthan, the traditional techniques of wax decoration and block printing now face competition from silkscreen printing, which allows large-scale production, while natural pigments are gradually abandoned in favor of chemical dyes. However, artisans still soak fabrics multiple times to fix their colors and continue to dry them in the sun. With 5 percent of its cultivated land dedicated to cotton, the Indian Union is the third leading producer of cotton in the world after China and the United States. Cotton accurately reflects current trends in agriculture. For the past few years, certain varieties of genetically modified cotton have been cultivated in India, their development paralleled by a sector dedicated to organic cotton and fair trade. The multitude of small farms (7 to 10 acres) and the diversity of local situations explain the coexistence of these different ways of farming “white gold.” However, international competition, falling prices, and subsidies provided in certain countries make cotton farming difficult, as does the increased use of pesticides and GMO seeds which make production more expensive.
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