Director-General  QU Dongyu
A statement by FAO Director-General QU Dongyu

World Cotton Day – WTO Launch

WTO HQ, Geneva; Monday, 7 October 2019

FAO Event:  

“Market and policy trends in the cotton sector: prospects for sustainability”

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear colleagues and friends,

It my pleasure to welcome you to this FAO event on thesustainability of the cotton sector.

Sustainable agriculture guides FAO’s vision and action.  

Sustainability has three dimensions – economic, social and environmental.  

Cotton can make a significant contribution to these three pillars of sustainability, but we need to do things differently and explore new ideas and approaches.  
We need innovation, more and better investment, and greater inclusiveness.

New technologies can help boost efficiency at every stage of the cotton value chain, while reducing resource use and environmental impact. Innovation can raise the competitiveness of cotton versus synthetic fibres.

For instance, innovative technologies canimprove cotton varieties and yields and help farmers to produce more cotton with the characteristics desired by the industry and consumers.  

We need to boost investment in the sector, with a focus on investments that raise cotton yields, particularly in Africa, where a gap persists between attainable and actual yields in the field. But we also need investment in value addition to create jobs and raise incomes for rural communities.    

Third, we need greater inclusiveness among the various stakeholders and across borders. This is critical to the long-term viability of the sector.That is why I am willing to come here to share all the experience on technology and the TCP with the people from the Ministry of Trade and Economy, because personally, after five years of experience as Vice Minister, I have come here quite a number of times. We need dialogue between the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Trade and commerce.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Achieving the objective of a sustainable cotton sector also requires enabling policies, including improved market access,stimulate trade and trade opportunities especially for the least developed countries.

With a special focus on the C-4 Countries: How can the cotton sector contribute more to their national economy? Productivity gains at the farm level are one way, but more importantly gains need to be realized along the various stages of the value chain.  
We, in FAO, are fully committed to working with all partners to ensure the sustainability of the cotton sector so it contributes to the achievement of the SDGs, and particularly SDG 1 and SDG 2.

I count on your support for thisand wish you have a real interaction, discussion and be adaptive: integration; synergetic cooperation (among farmers and industries, among the agricultural sector and the trade sector).

Thank you for your attention.