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China offers opportunity for brands to build cotton supply
Feb '15
The shifting cotton market in China offers a ‘significant opportunity’ for brands to invest and build a more resilient cotton supply in one of the world’s fastest growing cotton markets, says a latest report.
By leveraging technical, financial and political support for the industry – as well as providing urgent support at the farm level – brands and retailers have a chance to show leadership in building sustainable cotton interventions to help build a successful supply chain in China, says ‘China’s Cotton: A Growing Market Opportunity’ released by Cotton Connect.
The report outlines the urgency of taking action at both a strategic and farm level and warns that more support is needed for smallholder cotton farmers in China as they continue to grapple with environmental, economic and social challenges.
“On top of falling prices, growers are also struggling with changing rural demographics, an emerging water crisis, rising labour costs and a lack of access to credit and financial literacy,” states the report.
Citing International Cotton Advisory Committee, Cotton Connect says at farm level, cotton is fast-becoming a less appealing crop for farmers, and plantings are predicted to fall 6 per cent to 31.6 million hectares across China by 2015-16, if intervention does not happen.
Post introduction of subsidy reforms by the Chinese government in January 2014, prices of cotton have fell by around 60 per cent during the last nine months of 2014, according to the latest China Cotton Association’s price index.
The falling cotton prices provide a significant and strategic opportunity for brands and retailers to show leadership by improving relationships with cotton farmers on the ground and sharing best practice in basic agricultural techniques and technologies in China’s key cotton-growing regions.
Alison Ward, CEO, CottonConnect, said: “As the biggest market for cotton in the world, international brands have a vested interested in ensuring that the market and supply chain is thriving.  The Chinese cotton industry has reached a pivotal point.”
“There is a growing need – and a huge opportunity – for international and leading Chinese brands to support the cotton sector in this time of transition by showing leadership, collaborating with others and investing to help build a more sustainable cotton industry for the future,” she exclaims.
At the farm level, brands and their suppliers can provide support for farmer finance and literacy, effective water management, and encourage rural entrepreneurship in cotton communities, according to the report. (RKS)

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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