International Workshop Held to Boost Cotton Research and Industry along Belt and Road

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Scientists and experts from countries along the Belt and Road joined together for a two-day online workshop this week, to discuss the advancement of cotton research and industry as well as the promotion of international cooperation.


Supported by the Institute of Microbiology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (IMCAS) and Alliance of International Science Organizations (ANSO) , the workshop, held from August 19 to 20, drew more than 300 participants from China, Uzbekistan, Brazil, and Turkey.


Cotton is one of the most important cash crops in the world and the main raw material of textile industry. About 32.27 million ha of cotton is planted globally in 2020, with China accounting for more than 10%, and about 5% for Brazil.


“The global reach of cotton is wide, but current cotton production methods are environmentally unsustainable, ultimately undermining the industry’s ability to maintain future production,” said QIAN Wei, Director-General of IMCAS.


Scientist shared their ideas and views on opportunities and challenges of world cotton industry, and achievements and prospects of genetic improvement of traditional cotton.


Among the top ten cotton-producing countries, more than half are ANSO member countries. “Promoting cooperation between and among them in the cotton fields not only benefits these countries, but the whole world,” said BAI Chunli, President of ANSO.


With its 67 institutional members representing 48 countries around the world, ANSO is committed to advancing the UN SDGs and the development of community with a shared future for the whole human kind by catalyzing and supporting various actions in science, technology innovation and capacity building.


Cotton production provides income for more than 250 million people worldwide and employs almost 7% of all labor in developing countries, according to World Wildlife Fund. Approximately half of all textiles are made of cotton. Textile industry is a major component in the international economy development and this is especially so for the developing countries.


However, modern challenges such as global warming, severe drought, heat waves and diseases and insects led to the loss of cotton yield. And that is what drew the scientists and experts from countries with abundant cotton resources and most important cotton producing areas online to share their discoveries and innovative practices in the field.


“Rapid climate change requires the implementation of new approaches to growing cottons, the application of innovative technologies and the development of new varieties,” said Dr. Shukhrat E. Shermatov of the Center of Genomics and Bioinformatics from the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Uzbekistan in his opening remarks.


Scientists shared their recent studies on cotton research in about 20 remarks and speeches, discussing topics including “Cotton Germplasm Improvement for Resistance to Tropical Diseases”, “Genetic Improvement of Traditional Cotton”, “Application of MAS for Upland Cotton Improvement”, and “Advances and Prospects of Pest Resistance Breeding in Cotton”, in the hope of tackling common challenges that cotton industry faces.


“I am sure that this workshop will be very useful and I hope it will be a good start for establishing cooperation,” Dr. Shukhrat E. Shermatov said. “Cooperation and knowledge sharing will bring more benefits to all of us.”