The Australian delegation representing our industry at the International Cotton Advisory Committee’s (ICAC) 74th Plenary meeting in Mumbai, India, joined approximately 400 cotton industry leaders and government representatives from more than 40 countries. Key topics included global supply and demand trends, sustainable supply chains and government subsidies.
Cotton Australia’s representatives at the meeting noted a number of key findings relevant to Australian cotton growers. These included:
- The ‘Sustainability Indicators’ that have been developed over the past four years by the ICAC’s Expert Panel on the Social, Environmental, and Economic Performance of Cotton (SEEP) – chaired by Allan Williams (Cotton Research and Development Corporation) – are now being adopted internationally, with their use being piloted in Africa, South America, North America and Australia. Following Cotton Australia and the CRDC’s release of the 2014 Australian Grown Cotton Sustainability Report, draft industry sustainability targets have now been developed, and a Stakeholder Reference Forum is proposed to be held in 2016. Details to come.
- World cotton production is expected to be less than world cotton use during 2015/16, leading to a reduction in world stocks of 1.2 million tonnes to 20.81 million tonnes.
- The decline in the average world price of cotton had directly led to an increase in cotton subsidisation. In 2014/15 approximately 77% of world cotton production received a subsidy, which totals US$10.4 Billion.
- Leading global brands and retailers, H&M and IKEA, confirmed that consumers were increasingly seeking to know more about the origin of their cotton. Increasingly, brands are keen not only to be able to source ‘sustainable’ or ‘responsible’ cotton, but wished to be able to ‘tell its story’.
The Australian delegation comprised of representatives of Cotton Australia, the Australian Government, researchers and merchants, and included:
- Delegation leader Slava Zeman – Counsellor (Agriculture), Australian High Commission, New Delhi, India
- Simon Corish – Chairman, Cotton Australia, and Goondiwindi grower
- Michael Murray – General Manager, Cotton Australia
- Dr Greg Constable – retired CSIRO cotton scientist. Dr Constable attended the event to receive the ICAC Cotton Researcher of the Year award for 2015.
- Allan Williams – Research and Direction Program Manager, Cotton Research and Development Corporation
- Ashley Power – Marketing Director, Auscott Limited
Image: Cotton Australia Chairman Simon Corish (L) and ICAC Executive Director Jose Sette (R) with Dr Greg Constable, ICAC Cotton Researcher of the Year.