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Over sixty stakeholders gathered in Barcelona this month for the Global Organic Cotton Community face-to-face meeting, preceeding the Textile Exchange Sustainable Textiles conference. Three roundtable discussions were held, focussing on non-GM seed availability, models for responsible trading, and sustaining growth. Hear what some of our topic experts had to say on the day... Topic summaries will be posted here shortly.

 

Roundtable Highlights

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

About this episode Prabha Nagarajan, Textile Exchange, India, moderated the first panel of the Cotton Dialogues 2011, focusing on the issue of "Shaping the future of non-GM seed supply". In her views, the session highlighted how the non availability of non-GM cotton seeds represents a real crisis situation. This crisis has many aspects as it affects biodiversity, seeds sovereignty and choice of farmers, and ultimately the consumers as well. Therefore according to Prabha there is a need for a concrete, global, action plan that addresses these issue. See more at http://www.organiccotton.org/

 

Theme 1: Ensuring future supplies of organic cotton seeds

About this episode Jane Dever from Texas AgriLife Research, USA, was one of the expert in the first panel of the Cotton Dialogues 2011. The panel discussed the issue of "Shaping the future of non-GM seed supply". The session provided a great opportunity to discuss the issues related to seeds and traditional organic cotton varieties. For a synopsis of Jane's message click here.

 

Theme 1: How and why to train cotton farmers to breed their own seeds

About this episode Dr Shreekant S Patil (University of Agriculture Sciences, Dharwad, Karnataka, India) is a cotton breeder and was one of the experts in the first panel of the Cotton Dialogues 2011. The panel discussed the issue of "Shaping the future of non-GM seed supply". According to Dr. Patil, the biggest challenge today across the world, and in India specifically, it is that organic cotton growers can't find enough, high quality non-GM cotton seeds for their productions. Dr. Patil suggests that farmers need to be educated and trained so they become self sufficient and can produce the desired quantity of the chosen variety of organic cotton. This could be done also for hybrid seeds, and there are concrete and simple ways to make this happen. This way, while making farmers self sufficient for the supply of cotton seeds, they would become also more conscious and responsible of their farming practices. See more at http://www.organiccotton.org/

 

Theme 1: Increasing support for non-GM seeds

About this episode Rajeev Baruah from bioRe, India was one of the expert in the first panel of the Cotton Dialogues 2011. The panel discussed the issue of "Shaping the future of non-GM seed supply". In his views, there is a strong, increasing support on the issue and it is now important to see how to bring this forward. According to Rajeev it is important to undertake global actions where non GM and hybrid seeds are made available to farmers at lower prices. Consumers need also to be involved in this actions and awareness needs to be created in the general public, addressing issues of sustainability, biodiversity and conservation. See more at http://www.organiccotton.org/

 

Theme 1: Building a new programme for production and distribution of non GM cotton seeds

About this episode Ben Ramsden, from Pants to Poverty, UK. was one of the expert in the first panel of the Cotton Dialogues 2011. The panel discussed the issue of "Shaping the future of non-GM seed supply". According to Ben, the discussion was "fantastic" as it brought together farmers, seeds producers, academics, textile manufacturers and brands. Amongst the participants, a shared understanding of the problems that related to non-GM seeds emerged. More important, according to Ben, it is the need to build capacity for production, distribution and security of cotton seeds. Further, the different actors involved need to campaign collectively all along the value chain to engage consumers, retailers and brands in viable solutions where non-Gm and GM can coexist so to preserve biodiversity on the planet. http://www.organiccotton.org/

 

Theme 2: Developing guidelines for responsible business practice and trade

About this episode Keith Tyrell from Pesticides Action Network (PAN), UK, moderated the second panel of the Cotton Dialogues 2011, focusing on responsible business practice and trade in the organic cotton sector. In this video, he shares his main takeaway messages from the session.

 

Theme 2: Decommoditization of Organic and Fairtrade Cotton

About this episode Thomas Favennec, Tudo Bom?, Brazil, participated as expert in the second panel at the Cotton Dialogues 2011. In this video, Thomas shares his takeaways from the session. According to Thomas, there is a need to work on de-commoditization of organic and fair trade cotton, by making more direct links between farmer organisations and brands. http://www.organiccotton.org/

 

Theme 2: Building long term relationships between producers and brands

About this episode Damien Sanfilippo, Fairtrade International, Germany, participated as expert in the second panel at the Cotton Dialogues 2011. In this video, Damien underlines two of the issues discussed in the session: the need of a sustainable and transparent price for cotton; the need of strong, long term relationships between brands and cotton producers. See more at http://www.organiccotton.org/

 

Theme 3: Supporting sustainable growth through collaboration in the organic cotton value chain

About this episode Jane Nalunga from NOGAMU, Uganda was one of the expert in the third panel of the Cotton Dialogues 2011. The panel discussed the issue of "Supporting sustainable growth". According to Jane, her main learning point from the session is that supporting sustainable growth can be best achieved through collaboration and coordination amongst all actors involved in the organic cotton value chain.

 

Theme 3: Value and future prospects for organic cotton production

About this episode Tobias Bandel from Soil & More, Netherlands, was one of the experts in the third panel of the Cotton Dialogues 2011. The panel discussed the issue of "Supporting sustainable growth". In this video, Tobias reflects on the outcome of the roundtable discussion. According to Tobias, organic is not a religion or just wishful thinking but it's actually the only logical way to produce food and fiber. Organic as of today is not yet fully sustainable but in a few years organic production will be cheaper than conventional production. This will shift organic from a niche market to mainstream. See more at http://www.organiccotton.org

 

A big thank you to social reporter Pier Andrea Pirani - Euforic Services Ltd. for all his hard work on the day!