Cotton Dialogues 2011

Hosted by: HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation and Textile Exchange, funded by ICCO

Date:  Sunday, September 18 at 10 AM in Barcelona, Spain

Venue:  Princesa Sofia Gran Hotel Barcelona (dialogues held in the Tibidabo Room)

Held just before the TE Sustainable Textiles Conference (19 - 20 Sept 2011) in the same venue. Click here to download a copy of the Pre-conference Cotton Dialogues Programme

Hear what some of the dialogue delegates had to say.


THEME 1: Shaping the future of non-GM seed supply

Synopsis: Obtaining non-GM cotton seed is becoming increasingly difficult. This is a problem affecting organic cotton growers globally. It is also an issue for Fairtrade farmers and conventional cotton growers wishing to use 'high performing' non-GM seed since choice is restricted and the majority of R&D goes into GM seed. This issue of non-GM seed shortage is well known to stakeholders within the cotton industry and there are a number of programs in place ranging from Institution-led research (specialising in improving non-GM seed breeds) through to seed banking (preserving local varieties or rare and endangered indigenous cotton). The roundtable will focus on arriving at a global program to help improve access to information in a more joined-up way and identifying opportunities for developing, improving and/or better supporting current and new initiatives.

Desired outcome: Actions for improving availability and distribution of good quality non-GM seed, ie through seed 'intelligence' networks, seed breeding programs, and sector advocacy. Once again input before and follow up after Barcelona will be encouraged.

Moderator: Prabha Nagarajan, Textile Exchange, India

Topic Experts:

  • Rajeev  Baruah, bioRe, India
  • Jane Dever, Texas AgriLife Research, USA
  • Ben Ramsden, Pants to Poverty, UK
  • Dr Shreekant S Patil, University of Agriculture Sciences, Dharwad, Karnataka, India

Recommended Reading:


THEME 2: Developing guidelines for responsible business practice and trade

Synopsis: There have been many discussions around the price of organic and how to arrive at a fair price for farmers. Ideally, guiding principles could be developed on responsible trade, that helps build business security and value chain social responsibility. The goal of the roundtable would be to gather input from the sector to develop a Sector 'guideline'. The roundtable dialogues would form part of the development of this document. Input before and following Barcelona will be encouraged through the CoP.

Desired Outcome: A responsible business guide, pragmatic business practices with a focus towards the future of organic cotton. Note: input from interested parties/stakeholders will be encouraged outside of discussions in Barcelona.

Moderator: Dr Keith Tyrell, Pesticides Action Network (PAN), UK

Topic Experts: 

  • Satish Chukkapalli, Zameen Organic, India
  • Stephan Engel, Aid by Trade Foundation, Germany
  • Thomas Favennec, Tudo Bom?, Brazil
  • Damien Sanfilippo, Fairtrade International, Germany

Recommended Reading:


THEME 3: Supporting sustainable growth

Synopsis: Access to suitable, timely, and affordable finance is an important factor throughout the entire Organic Cotton Value Chain. It is one of the crucial elements that can make or break a business. Here we explore what is available currently in terms of socially responsible and pro-poor financial investment and what is needed. We also explore the links between financial investment and ‘sustainable agriculture’ and how they work hand-in-hand to achieve sustainable growth. Dialogue goals would be to find ways to better connect producer groups to financial services, scale-up appropriate technologies, and encourage more corporate investment or partnerships through tri-partite arrangements.

Desired outcome: Actions for improving access to timely, low-risk, socially orientated financial services.

Moderator: Lisette van Benthum, Fair and Sustainable Advisory Services, Netherlands

Topic Experts:

  • Tobias Bandel, Soil & More, Netherlands
  • Mahesh BG, Chetna Farmers Association, India
  • Jesse Last, Root Capital, USA
  • Jane Nalunga, NOGAMU, Uganda
  • Christa Suter-Schwaller, Remei, Switzerland

Recommended Reading:


Producer Group Leaders

The following PG representatives will be bringing expertise and experience to all three roundtables: 

  • Cesar Fajardo, Coproexnic, Nicaragua
  • Riyaz Heider, BioSustain, Tanzania
  • Rama Krishna, Chetna Organic, India      
  • Sidy Moctar, MOBIOM, Mali
  • Javier Otoya, New Expo, Peru
  • Niranjan Pattni, bioRe, Tanzania
  • Mahesh Ramakrishnan, Arvind, India
  • Tete Shyrlley, Diaconia, Brazil
  • Davo Simplice, OBEPAB, Benin

 [farm leader profiles can be found here]


Community input online

Through the Global Organic Community Platform we encourage all members to contribute to the dialogues. Your comments can be sent to Ashley Gill before the 18th September or circulated via the Platform Dgroups email. 

We are hoping to video record the event and share with the entire community. There will be an online summary and follow-up to the event.