The International Cotton Advisory Committee’s (ICAC) opened its 77th Plenary Meeting in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire December 4, 2018 with a welcome message from Côte d’Ivoire’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Mamadou SANGAFOWA COULIBALY.
He welcomed the 160+ people who travelled from their home countries to Abidjan for the conference, as well as the 160+ Ivoirians in attendance. He also emphasised how important cotton is to Côte d’Ivoire, which is one of the country’s top agricultural crops.
ICAC Executive Director Kai Hughes also addressed the audience, stressing how critical Côte d’Ivoire and all of Africa are to the future of cotton. ‘It is no secret that some of the lowest yields in the world occur in Africa’, he said. ‘If we look at Africa as a whole and increase yields in all African countries to the global average, it would result in an additional 2 million tonnes for Africa alone. This is something that the ICAC can have a direct impact on by offering advice to farmers and governments in Africa through its country audits and yield awareness training programmes.’
The Inaugural Session also included a speech from the President of the Organising Committee, Dr. Adama Coulibaly, Director General of Cotton and Cashew Council, and a World Cotton Market Update from the members of the ICAC Secretariat.
As is tradition at Plenary Meetings, the ICAC officially recognised its 2018 Cotton Researcher of the Year, Dr. Baohong Zhang, a Professor of Biology at East Carolina University, Greenville, USA. Dr. Zhang is one of the major contributors to breeding transgenic Bt cotton in China. He developed five cotton cultivars that already are being used in China and several other Asian countries. The cultivars continue to generate huge economic benefits for cotton farmers.
The opening day of the conference concluded with a reception and fashion show, providing an elegant and modern interpretation of traditional Ivoirian style.
Formed in 1939, the ICAC is an association of cotton producing, consuming and trading countries. It acts as a catalyst for change by helping member countries maintain a healthy world cotton economy; provides transparency to the world cotton market by serving as a clearinghouse for technical information on cotton production; and serves as a forum for discussing cotton issues of international significance. The ICAC does not have a role in setting market prices or in intervening in market mechanisms.