The 81st Plenary Meeting: Highlights from the Inaugural Session   

2 December 2023

MumbaiFor the first time since 2019, the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC) kicked off its annual conference in person, with hundreds of attendees from all sectors of the cotton textile value chain making the trip to Mumbai for the 81st Plenary Meeting. The prior three meetings were held virtually due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Indian Textile Commissioner, Ms Roop Rashi, delivered a welcome address and Ms Rachna Shah, Secretary of India's Ministry of Textiles, invited participants to return to India and attend the upcoming Bharat Tex 2024 event, to be held in New Delhi from 26-29 February.

Mr Eric Trachtenberg then delivered the report of the Executive Director. He reiterated the ICAC’s commitment to its mission — to serve the cotton and textile community through promotion, knowledge sharing, innovation, partnerships, and providing a forum for discussion of cotton issues of international significance — and highlighted the ICAC’s core competencies: data and publications; committees that focus on issues such as instrument testing and sustainability; and making contributions to initiatives such as the Research Associates Program and the World Cotton Research Program. He welcomed Brazil, Cameroon, and Kenya back into the ICAC fold, and expressed his eagerness to address the multiple challenges cotton faces in the near future, including climate change, rampant poverty in developing countries, and declining market share vs synthetic fibres.

The Chairman of the ICAC Standing Committee, HEM Aly Toure, was unable to attend the meeting in person, so Mr Patrick Packnett, Acting Standing Committee Chair during the Plenary Meeting, welcomed all attendees and and congratulated the local Organising Committee for their hard work. He thanked Ambassador Toure for his efforts in travelling to multiple countries to encourage them to join the ICAC and pointed out that although it had been a challenging year, he was pleased by several developments, including the hiring of new Executive Director Eric Trachtenberg, and the fact that Brazil, Cameroon, and Kenya have returned as Members.

Dr Mike Bange, Commercial Research Manager of CSD in Australia, was recognised as the 2023 ICAC Researcher of the Year. Dr Bange accepted the award and thanked the ICAC and those who have provided research support.

The heads of ICAC Panels and Committees — the Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC), the Expert Panel on Social, Environmental and Economic Performance of Cotton Production (SEEP), the Task Force on the Commercial Standardization of Instrument Testing of Cotton (CSITC), and the International Cotton Researchers Association (ICRA) — delivered brief updates on their activities during the previous year. 

Finally, the Chair of the session, Mr Piyush Goyal, India's Minister of Textiles, Commerce & Industry and Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, commemorated Kasturi Cotton Bharat, India's first-ever cotton brand, and expressed his confidence that the efforts of India — and the cotton and textile industry as a whole — can achieve a circular economy and leave for future generations a better world than the one we inherited. 

The 81st Plenary Meeting of the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC) has the theme, 'Cotton Value Chain: Local Innovations for Global Prosperity'. Scheduled for 2-5 December at the Jio World Convention Centre in Mumbai, the conference will be followed by a Technical Tour of India's cotton and textile industries from 6-8 December. For more information and to see the full agenda, please click here.

About the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC)
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. In addition, members can take advantage of the ICAC’s global network of cotton researchers, whose expertise covers the supply chain from farm to textile manufacturing, and have free access to its cutting-edge technologies like the voice-based app and virtual technology cotton training programme. Committed to ensuring cotton’s continued sustainability, the ICAC is the only intergovernmental commodity body covering cotton that is recognised by the United Nations. For more information, please visit, Twitter or LinkedIn