FINAL MINUTES (April 2019)

48THMeeting of the Expert Panel on Social, Environmental and 
Economic Performance of Cotton Production - SEEP

Wednesday, 13 March 2019




                                    Mr. Allan Williams, Australia (Chair)

                                    Dr. Kater Hake, USA 

                                    Dr. Bill Norman, USA 

                                    Dr. Marcelo Paytas, Argentina

                                    Mr. Damien Sanfilippo, BCI 


                                    Mr. Kai Hughes, Executive Director

                                    Dr. Keshav Kranthi, Head of TIS 

                                    Ms. Lorena Ruiz, Economist       


1.             Results of the call for a Vice-Chair 

The Chair thanked all participants for their participation and informed that Mr. Bruno Bachelier was elected as the new vice-chair of the SEEP panel.   

2.             Update on the Soil and Plant Health APP 

Dr. Kater Hake and Dr. Keshav Kranthi informed participants about their visit to India and their meeting with the app developers. These are, in brief, the main points of their presentation: 

·      Advantages of the Soil and Plant Health App:

-       Unique voice based- Talking App for the illiterate farmers

-       Four Indian languages (Hindi, Gujarati, Telugu & Kannada)

-       Works on GPS location of the field and connects to weather data and background soil health data

-       Runs software to monitor plant growth with heat units

-       Runs software to measure air and soil temperature 

-       56+ Animations on insect pests, diseases and diagnostics

-       146+ images related to diagnostics

-       Printable pdf data sheets of information and recommendations related to the final diagnosis

-       Compiles all diagnostics and issues voice advisories to communities within a zip-code area 

·      The App also will provide a complete diagnosis for: 

-       Soil health and plant health

-       Soil nutrient deficiencies 

-       Insect pests and beneficial insects

-       Diseases and nematodes

-       Agrochemical toxicities

-       Extreme weather changes 

Based on the diagnosis, the App also provides eco-friendly recommendations as animation movies and data sheets.  

After the presentation, the following comments were made: 

-       Mr. Kai Hughes noted that the information provided on the app should come in simple language that can be easily understood by illiterate farmers.  

-       Dr. Marcelo Paytas asked if the App will consider different agronomy practices, as well as pests and diseases for any of the Latin American countries. Dr. Keshav Kranthi commented that the basic structure of the app is tailored for India. However, it can also be useful to many other countries in Latin America and Africa and the app design will allow it to be easily transferred from one region to another.  

-       Allan Williams pointed out the importance of expanding the project into other regions. He also mentioned the importance of identifying the availability of technical expertise in Africa and Latin America.  Timing and funding for implementing the tool in those regions should also be considered. The chair also mentioned the need to design a plan for testing and implementing the app in India.  

-       Mr. Hughes mentioned that the App should be showcased at the World Cotton Day event scheduled on October 7th in Geneva. The World Cotton Day will be launched in collaboration with key partners from the United Nations and the WTO. The event will involve governments, international and national organisations, retailers and brands, spinners and farmers. The ICAC initiative seeks to raise the profile of cotton and to raise awareness of the benefits of cotton fibre.  

-       The App could be used for the world cafe session at the plenary meeting to receive feedback from all the countries involve at the meeting. Designing the questions and planning out the logistics of the meeting should be further discussed.  It was highlighted that such a session would require a working version of the App in suitable language(s) and that regular updating of progress in preparation for the world café will therefore be important. A ‘Plan B’ for a different world café topic will need to be prepared by the Organising Committee in case the App is not ready in time.

 The CHAIR thanked Dr’s Kranthi and Hake for their excellent work on developing the App to date, and all members for their participation and declared the meeting closed. The meeting was adjourned at 5:00 p.m.