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68th ICAC Plenary Meeting successfully concluded
Sep '09
The 68th ICAC Plenary Meeting of the ICAC concluded successfully last Friday, September 11, 2009. Among the major accomplishments:

- Government officials learned that biotechnology will play a dominant role in the development of new cotton varieties to control insects and use inputs efficiently, and much work is occurring in biotechnology applications in cotton.

- Farmer representatives informed the Committee that food security begins with income security, and that cotton contributes to food security by providing the means to finance inputs and by enhancing soil fertility and retarding the development of pests and diseases in properly-managed crop rotation systems.

- The Committee reaffirmed that Farmer Field Schools combined with demonstration plots are the most effective form of communication with smallholders, and the Committee recommended that agricultural research and extension should receive increases in public sector support. The important social and economic development roles played by cotton companies in Africa were acknowledged.

- Cotton Incorporated reported that research on gossypol-free cottonseed is expected to facilitate an increased use of cottonseed meal for human consumption, further expanding the range of uses and value of cottonseed.

- The Committee reaffirmed the urgent necessity for an ambitious and balanced conclusion to the Doha Round with development as its centerpiece.

- Defaults on valid arbitral awards involving contracts for trade in cotton continue to undermine confidence in the cotton trading system resulting in increased costs and reduced availability of credit. There has been progress toward harmonization of rules on international trade in cotton, and the Progress achieved by the cotton associations in Bremen and Gdynia was praised.

- The Cotton Association of India reported on new approaches to enhancement of domestic demand for cotton at the national level.

- Specialists in instrument testing of cotton agreed that there is sufficient data to draw up a Best Practices 'Manual' and it was recommended that this should take place under the auspices of the Task Force on Commercial Standardization of Instrument Testing of Cotton.

The 68th Plenary Meeting was held during September 7-11, 2009 in Cape Town, South Africa. The Organizing Committee in South Africa did an excellent job in all phases of meeting preparation, including logistics, venue, social program and hotels. In the statement of the meeting, the Committee thanked the people, the Government, and the cotton industry of South Africa for their hospitality, generosity and excellent organization in serving as host of the 68th Plenary Meeting.

International Cotton Advisory Committee

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