The 2018 Australian Cotton Conference was the biggest yet, with 2460 delegates attending, 150 speakers and panellists, 28 sponsors, 110 exhibitors and 12 start-ups. The Bremen Cotton Exchange was represented by its Vice President Henning Hammer.
The theme for the 2018 Australian Cotton Conference was ‘Pushing boundaries’, and the opening session put that topic front-of-mind. Delegates at the opening session heard a moving presentation from UN peacekeeper and author Matina Jewell about leadership and overcoming adversity. Futurist Thomas Frey discussed his vision for agriculture and how the cotton industry can strengthen its global position moving forward. Demographer Simon Kuestenmacher spoke about how the Australian cotton industry can future-proof itself in an era of disruption by embracing RD&E and change.
Future trade picture
With 99% of Australian cotton exported to international markets, the global trade environment is of importance to the Australian cotton industry. Rabobank’s Head of Financial Markets Research Asia-Pacific, Michael Every, presented at the conference with a stark message about the current international trade situation. At the heart of Mr Every’s presentation was the evolving dynamic and bubbling trade war between the United States and China, and the prospect of Australia having to choose which power it aligns its trade deals with.
Cotton To Market building relationships
The ongoing success of Cotton Australia’s Cotton To Market program and building supply chain relationships was on show at the conference. A session was held featuring Cotton Australia CEO Adam Kay, Better Cotton Initiative’s (BCI) Corin Wood-Jones, Lucy King from Country Road Group, social entrepreneur Jon Dee, and Rick Lambell from Kmart and Target Australia. The group discussed their perspectives on the importance of sustainability and ensuring the consumer’s desire for responsibly-produced products is met through strong traceability systems.
Vision for a stronger cotton industry
Cotton Research Development Corporation (CRDC) presented to delegates the organisation’s strong future vision – provide $2b more gross value to the Australian cotton industry by 2023. CRDC Executive Director, Bruce Finney, said this would be done by investing in world-leading RD&E for the industry. Mr Finney said by enabling RD&E, the industry could see: two-million more bales produced by assisting growers and building new cotton regions, an 18% improvement in yield, unconstrained use of digital technology, and using new transformative technologies in cotton to tackle pests, weeds and diseases.
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