Presentation on theme: "Sustainability of cotton production systems"— Presentation transcript:
1 Sustainability of cotton production systems Anne-Sophie Poisot, with Francesca Mancini, FAO
2 Cotton productionOver 100 million cotton farm families across 75 countries, USD 51.4 billion annually in raw product. One of the most significant crops in terms of land use after food grains and soybeans. Cotton often one component of more complex farming system.Questions:What are the impacts of cotton production on natural resources, economic and social systems?How can we measure them?How to increase positive impacts and reduce negative impacts?
3 SustainabilityMost widely accepted definition of sustainability in “Brundtland Report” (1987)“Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” The Report “Our Common Future” of the UN World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) published in 1987“Needs and limitations”Three pillars of sustainability – environmental, economic and socialAgenda 21 Programme Areas + major international instruments
4 Key considerationsGrowing consumer and market interest on sustainability (Organic, Fair trade, Better Cotton Initiative, Cotton Made in Africa…)Many different initiatives/ways of promotingWill mean different things in different contextsSustainability a moving target – seek improvements, not absolutesDefining issues, indicators and improvements require stakeholder dialogue
6 “Measuring Sustainability in Cotton Farming Systems…” …“Towards a Guidance Framework” (FAO/ICAC 2014) :provides overview of sustainability issuesrecommends indicators to help industry assess and measure progress on critical sustainability issuesDeveloped by ICAC SEEP (Expert Panel on the Social, Economic and Environmental Performance of Cotton Production)Discussed in Cartagena 2013
7 Key sustainability issues in cotton production systems Environmental pillar5 themes:Pest and Pesticide ManagementWater ManagementSoil ManagementBiodiversity/Land UseClimate ChangeEconomic pillar2 themes:Economic Viability, Poverty Reduction & Food SecurityEconomic Risk Management.Social pillar4 themes:Labor Rights and StandardsWorkers Health and SafetyEquity and GenderFarmer Organization
8 Summary of key issuesStable global land use & increasing yields in major cotton producing regions (except inWest /Southern Africa) suggest increasedefficiencyBut remains an input-intensive commodity(energy, water, fertilizers, pesticides)New production practices/technologies offer real opportunities for improving environmental and social impactsManaging adoption of such innovations will require continued investment in research and farmer education
9 Pest and pesticide management Pests a challenge for yield lossescotton production 11% of global pesticide use, 25% of global insecticide use and 50% of insecticide use across the developing world (Woodburn, 1999)Proportion of global insecticide sales for cotton declined from 18.4% of world sales in 2003 to 14.1% in 2009 (SEEP, 2012). Significant disparities in pesticide use exist across countriesSignificant proportion of pesticides used in cotton are Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs), which, according to FAO/WHO criteria, should be considered for phasing out (aldicarb, chlorpyrifos, endosulfan, methamidofos, methomyl, monocrotofos, parathion-methyl, profenofos, zeta cypermethrin) (SEEP, 2010).
10 Pest and pesticide management (ctnd) Environmental impacts : water contamination, poisoning of pollinators, fish, wildlife or livestock, biodiversity loss, long term persistence in soils, air pollutionImpacts on pest management and crop production: production costs, pest resistance, secondary pest outbreaksHuman exposure : acute poisoning (convulsions, loss of consciousness, cardiac arrest, death) or chronic illness (carcinogenic, genotoxic, reproductive or endocrine disruptive properties)Examples of indicatorsQuantity of active ingredients of pesticides and HHPs used (kg/ha)Number of pesticide applications per seasonExistence of an IPM plan
11 SoilFertility depletion - challenge in both extensive cotton mono-culture and low input systems. Soil structure decline, depletion in soil organic matter, fertility loss, build up of soil borne pathogens and nematodesSoil contamination - residual concentrations of pesticides, and in particular endosulfan in cotton soils (Savadogo 2009, Tapsoba 2006)Erosion from water and windSoil salinity- in irrigated cotton, acute in semi arid areasExamples of indicatorsSoil characteristics: organic matter content, pH, N, P, KFertilizer used by type (kg/ha)% of area under soil erosion control and minimum/conservation tillage
12 Biodiversity and land use Three levels of biodiversity : genetic diversity, species diversity and ecosystem diversity (CBD1992)Main concerns with cotton production :Loss, degradation or fragmentation of ecosystems as a result of the establishment of large monoculturesSuppression of ecosystem services caused by the excessive use of broadspectrum pesticides.Examples of indicatorsTotal area (ha) and % of natural vegetation converted for cotton production (in ha)% of total farm area that is non-cropped
13 Climate changeGreenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions from cotton production to ginning (Source : Carbon Trust 2011)= global emissions of 220mt CO2e= 3.6% - 4.3% of global emissions from agriculture= 0.4% of overall emissions4 to 12 tonnes of CO2e emitted/tonne of cotton lint, depending on regions (ibid)Decomposition and mineralisationEnergy useCarbon stock
14 Labor Rights and Standards Major differences in industrialized vs developing countriesChild labor in cotton reported in at least 18 countriesExamples (as opposed to acceptable children’s work on family farm): direct/indirect exposure to chemicals, use dangerous tools, working at night, long hours, heavy loadEmployment conditions – forced labor in cotton in at least 12 countries (2012)Freedom of associationSocial protection – scarcely available in developg countriesExamples of indicators% of children completing appropriate level of school by gendernumber and % of workers subordinated by forced labor
15 2 recommendations from ICAC Cartagena 2013 Next steps2 recommendations from ICAC Cartagena 20131) consider the indicators at a national level ; form committees in each country to create initial framework of indicators and keep them updated2) consideration by appropriate national organizations to pilot testing the framework.Immediate next stepsProject and workshops in Benin and Zambia 2015 (FAO/ GIZ)Projet “Africanisation des indicateurs de durabilité” 2015 (CIRAD/EU-ACP)