Seshadri Ramkumar, Texas Tech University, USA
Cotton industry needs collective effort by all stakeholders to advance. End-user communities, research organizations, financial institutions, policy makers need to work with cotton, agriculture and for that matter any industrial sector to advance.
Lubbock-based Plains Cotton Gowers, Inc. has been the champion of the collective spirit and it can serve as model for the global cotton and textile industries. As the planting season is on the High Plains of Texas, stakeholders related to the industry gathered today to discuss planting season, cotton market situation and federal support programs.
Researchers from Texas AgriLife Research and Extension, Texas Tech University and USDA presented scenarios with regard to pest management, weed control, moisture situation, etc. With the medium to long-term climatic conditions, showing above average precipitations for this region, this season should be very positive for cotton. Global demand of cotton is good, which may be a driver for more cotton planting in the High Plains. However, as cotton being non-food crop is subjected to many uncertainties such as consumer demand, price volatility, competition from other producing countries and cost of production. With heavy dependency on weather, to have sustained advancement in sectors such as cotton and production agriculture in general, safety net policies are needed.
Today’s meeting at the backdrop of latest budget situation highlighted the collective and positive working spirit of producer associations such as Plains Cotton Growers. Steve Verett, Executive Vice President of Plains Cotton Growers, emphasized the importance of collaborative efforts among all stakeholders to carry through stressful situations, which the US cotton industry has been facing recently.
Global textile and cotton industry whether a major cotton producer like India, or leading apparel producer like Bangladesh needs to have strong associations such as those in the United States to take care of the needs of their producers, manufacturers.
More importantly, when it comes to advocating support structure to the respective governments, while appreciating the contributions of other allied industries, such associations are vital.
In the United States, associations such as Plains Cotton Growers, Memphis-based National Cotton Council and National Council of Textile Organizations play a vital role to support and advance the industry.