|作者：||Sub-Committee on Cotton -|
Thematic Session on cotton by-products
in Least-Developed Countries (LDCs)
12 November 2020, 15:00 (Room CR/Interprefy)
1 Introductory remarks by the Chairperson, Deputy Director-General Alan Wm. Wolff
1.1. The Chairperson welcomed the organization of the Thematic Session on Cotton by-products development in Least-Developed Countries (LDCs), held in the context of the November 2020 WTO Cotton Days. He recalled that the session stemmed from the WTO-United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) - International Trade Centre (ITC) Joint Initiative on Cotton By-Products, as endorsed by WTO Members at the 29 November 2018 meeting of the Director‑General Consultative Framework Mechanism on Cotton (DGCFMC).
1.2. He expressed solidarity with all Members and participants in their efforts to fight the COVID‑19 pandemic, and recalled the analysis of the impacts of the pandemic on cotton value chains carried out during the "cotton and COVID-19 information session" of 30 July 2020. Reports and experts' interventions at the session had confirmed that the pandemic had had a considerable impact on cotton value chains, particularly in its most vulnerable parts. Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, and Mali, known as the C-4, had reported that more than 20 million cotton smallholder farmers in Africa were being seriously affected by the direct and indirect effects of the pandemic.
1.3. Against that scenario, he emphasised the importance of the additional income-earning opportunities offered by investments in the local processing of parts of the cotton plant other than the fibre, such as the stalks, husks, cottonseed and short-staple fibres, which could help cotton smallholders in LDCs better cope with COVID-19 and other exogenous impacts, provided they had the technologies, support policies and knowhow to unlock the value of cotton by-products (CBPs).
1.4. He referred to the evidence from the feasibility assessments on the potential to develop CBPs in LDCs, which had been completed and validated in Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali and Mozambique, under the coordination of the Agriculture and Commodities Division of the WTO in close consultation with UNCTAD and ITC, and with support from the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF). Those new assessments complemented previous work done by UNCTAD in Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia, and by ITC across the African continent.
1.5. He noted that that work had unveiled novel data, facts and figures about CBPs in the partner LDCs, availing that information to international cooperation partners, donors, and investors. For example, soap produced from cotton waste processing in West Africa appeared to be mostly made by women. New data collected by a team of local experts showed that women set up their businesses near the processing units that crush cottonseed for edible oil, to obtain the black or white cake resulting as waste from seed crushing. That waste was then used to produce soap. In Mali alone, those activities employed about 400 people and generated average annual revenues of USD 262,840. He reported that such scenario was common to the other C-4 countries. Furthermore, a significant growth potential for soap markets was unveiled by the feasibility assessments, which highlighted that women's level of satisfaction with the quality and quantity of raw material available to produce soap from cotton was only low-to-medium, and that the demand for soap was significant at the national and regional levels – a possible gateway to future exports at the inter-African level but also overseas.
1.6. He announced that those subjects would be discussed in detail during the session and turned to the presentation of the agenda for the meeting. Item 2 of the agenda would be dedicated to a draft General Council Declaration on Support for cotton by-products development in LDCs (INT/SUB/AG/489/Rev.3), promoted by the C-4 on behalf of all cotton producing LDCs, circulated to Members on 2 November 2020. Item 3 of the agenda would be dedicated to the analysis of the results of the feasibility assessments, to listen to Members and partners' views on capacity building activities that could be undertaken in the partner LDCs on the basis of those results.
1.7. He concluded his introduction by highlighting that the session provided participants with an opportunity to achieve two important objectives: first, preliminary consensus on a draft General Council Declaration on Support for cotton by-products development in LDCs which the C-4 intended to submit to the General Council for consideration at the December 2020 General Council; and second, discussing and possibly committing to concrete capacity building activities to enable the development of CBPs in cotton producing LDCs. Achieving both objectives would also help fulfil the mandate that WTO Members gave to the Secretariats of the WTO, UNCTAD, and ITC in November 2018, through the joint initiative on cotton by-products aimed at increasing revenues for cotton farmers and small processors in cotton producing LDCs.
1.8. The agenda was adopted as proposed.