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Summary of Beijing Workshop 'Estimating Cotton Supply & Use'
Aug '11
The Workshop on Estimating Cotton Supply and Use laid bare the need for major improvements in the collection and reporting of basic statistics on cotton supply and use. As indicated by participants, measurement methods are highly variable among countries, statistical agencies often must rely on extrapolations of outdated statistics, many countries lack procedures to reconcile conflicting estimates or to ensure that measures of supply and demand are balanced each season.

Lessons learned:
• End-of-season measures of cotton production must be based on actual ginning data;
• End-of-season consensus estimates of production by committees are no substitute for a census of gins;
• Pre-season or within-season surveys of farmers and ginners to estimate production can be helpful, provided that such surveys are carefully conducted to ensure statistical validity and the results are adjusted for response bias;
• The collection of data on seedcotton arrivals and ginning progress are also helpful in estimating final production, provided that the data are collected in such a way to assure comparability of data from one season to the next.
• Accurate estimates of cotton consumption depend on the collection of accurate data from spinning mills, and this is often difficult because of variations in firm size and geographic dispersion;
• Estimates of non-mill cotton consumption are particularly vexing by their disaggregated nature and can only be estimated by survey using rigorous statistical methods;
• In order to receive accurate data from industry, government agencies must ensure confidentiality.
• As with production, accurate end-of-season measures of cotton stocks can only be achieved through a census of stocks holders;
• Reliance on committee estimates and partial measurement of stocks in some locations to estimate national stock totals can be highly misleading;
• To ensure the integrity of supply and use estimates, measures of stocks must be independent of measures of production and consumption. The residual end-of-season stocks estimates should be used to reconcile errors in measurement of production and consumption.
• In all cases, the use of metric measures in reporting supply and use will improve transparency, comparability and communication.

International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC)

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