The 5-day Fifth World Cotton Research Conference (WCRC-5) was held from November 7-11, 2011 in Mumbai followed by two days of technical tour to cotton areas near Nagpur. The WCRC-5 included 654 researchers associated with all facets of cotton technology, from breeding and agronomy to fiber quality and ginning.
A total of 322 scientific papers were presented. The scientists passed a resolution supporting the creation of a global network of cotton stakeholder organizations. The network will operate through nodes associated with cotton organizations and institutes to support globally accessible, stakeholder-supported specialist training and collaborative research.
Areas of particular importance to be addressed by the network will include biosecurity in relation to diseases, biotic and abiotic stress tolerance, and conservation and accessibility of genetic resources.
Having failed in its attempt to evolve a consensus on forming an International Cotton Research Centre, the global cotton community has now decided to form a network of cotton researchers, organisations and institutions.
A resolution to this effect was unanimously passed at the end of the Fifth World Cotton Research Conference here on Friday and this will now be sent to the International Cotton Advisory Council (ICAC) which had asked research personnel to take the lead in forming the centre.
However, the proposal, made in 2009 during a meet in South Africa, ran into problem with countries such as the US, Brazil and Australia questioning the need for such a centre on the grounds that a lot of research on cotton has been done so far. On the other hand, India, Pakistan and some African countries were in favour of such a centre.
An ad hoc committee was formed during the conference here and 20 individuals from 13 countries aired their views for and against the setting up of such a centre.
With consensus eluding the setting up of a centre, it was finally decided that cotton growing nations will strengthen global co-operation among themselves, research personnel, organisations and institutions through a network.
Meanwhile, the ICAC also has decided to hand over to research personnel the responsibility of running the World Cotton Research Conferences.
The ICAC Executive Director, Mr Terry P. Townsend, told the valedictory session that the council will still extend secretarial services while the Association of Cotton Research will take over the conduct of the conferences. Participation in the association will be voluntary and the ICAC will soon spell out the norms.
Brazil to host next Meet
Brazil has won the right to hold the sixth World Cotton Research Conference. It will held during June 20-24, 2016 at Goiania in Goias State, some 200 km from the Brasilia.
The current conference saw the participation of 31 countries, including India, with 135 foreign delegates and 440 Indian delegates taking part in the proceedings.
In his address, the Maharashtra Agriculture Secretary, Dr Sudhir Goyal, called on research scientists and industry to come together to take the findings of the lab to the land. He also said new ways had to be found to help farmers cut costs and improve production.
The International Cotton Advisory committee (ICAC) is an association of governments of cotton producing,consuming and trading countries. The Committee was formed in 1939, and the Secretariat was established in 1946. The annual budget is US$1.8 million,of which about 85% come from government assessments and 15% from the sale of subscriptions and participant fees at meetings and seminars.