The head of the largest cotton sustainability program in the world, the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), says Australia is leading the globe with its practices and standards for responsible cotton production.
BCI CEO Alan McClay is joining representatives from 30 countries in Brisbane for the International Cotton Advisory Committee’s (ICAC) 2019 Plenary Meeting.
The event is an opportunity for people involved in the global cotton industry’s sectors to review international and domestic issues and meet with Australian cotton growers, ginners, shippers, marketers, analysts, brokers, policy makers, textile manufacturers and agricultural suppliers.
Alan McClay said Australian cotton is among world leaders in driving sustainability in cotton production.
“It is exciting to be here in Australia for this event and to have the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the impressive Australian cotton industry from the growers that produce the crop,” Mr McClay said.
“The Australian cotton industry is pursuing a high standard for growing cotton in an environmentally and socially responsible way. From a global perspective, the industry is making impressive progress around high priorities like improving water use efficiency, reducing pesticide use, and ensuring best practices around all facets of production are met.
“BCI exists to make global cotton production better for the environment in which it is grown, better for the people who produce it, and better for the sector’s future, and we highly value our partnership with the Australian cotton industry. Australians can be proud of the work of your cotton growers and how their know-how, cutting edge technology and understanding of best practices can be emulated in other countries with less developed agriculture and millions of smallholders.”
BCI encompasses a broad range of organisations, from farms to fashion and textile brands, driving the cotton sector towards enhanced sustainability.
“In less than 10 years, the Better Cotton Initiative and its Partners have reached more than 2 million farmers in 21 countries and account for more than 20% of the worlds cotton production. By 2020, our goal is to train five million cotton farmers worldwide on more sustainable agricultural practices,” Mr McClay said.
Cotton Australia CEO Adam Kay said Better Cotton currently represents about 20% of Australia’s total cotton production this season.
“This is a wonderful achievement for our industry, and demonstrates our collective commitment to best practices and operating at a high level,” Mr Kay said.
“It is wonderful for our growers and industry personnel to receive the global recognition they have from the Better Cotton Initiative. Our industry is so proud of our partnership with BCI, and we thank BCI for their effort in ensuring cotton is sustainably grown at a global level.
“As an industry, we remain committed to improving our practices to ensure positive outcomes for the environment, communities, and our farmers.”
Meanwhile, 80% of Australian cotton growers are engaged in the Australian best management practice program, myBMP, which has a comprehensive program covering 10 modules, including: water management, biosecurity, pesticide management, safety and human resources.
Source: Cotton Australia