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Cotton industry developing new program to push best practice

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2014-01-10 14:30:00 – sydney

A new program is put together by the cotton industry on the core principle that cotton growing is consistent with sustainability, the use of best practice and traceability in the supply chain, was put across by Adam Kay CEO of Cotton Australia and Mark Messura from Cotton International.

They want to convince cotton users that they should be confident that the raw material is responsibly produced and identified.

Unlike the bad old days, cotton growing now uses 40 per cent less water, 90 per cent less insecticide and 30 per cent less land is required to grow the same amount of cotton.

Adam Kay said that the majority of Australian cotton farmers use zero or minimum tillage practices to conserve and improve soil health.

There is some evidence that the effectiveness of the GM technology is breaking down to pests in Brazilian cotton crops but the Brazilians may not have monitored the pest situation as closely they do in the US or Australia.

Adam Kay said that they do not have that problem here in Australia to anywhere near the same extent.

According to Mark Messura, the aim of the scheme is to show other cotton producing nations, such as Brazil, India and China that the Australian and US lead on best practice is the one to follow for a range of environmental and economic reasons.

The best practice model to improve the marketing and image of cotton does not extend to a crack down on "sweat shops" or illegal work practices in places like Bangladesh, India, Pakistan or other parts of Asia.

They do have a seat at the table to discuss these issues but there is a limit to what Australian and American farmers can do in these situations.

The program is to push best practice in US and Australia as an example to other countries.

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