Secretary DARE and DG, ICAR inaugurates 9th ACRDN meeting International Conference at ICAR-CIRCOT

Dr. Himanshu Pathak, Secretary DARE and DG, ICAR inaugurated the 9th Asian Cotton Research & Development Network (ACRDN) meeting & International Conference on “Innovation for a Resilient and Sustainable Cotton Production and Viable Value Chain” at ICAR-Central Institute for Research on Cotton Technology (CIRCOT), Mumbai on 6th December 2023.  This programme is co-hosted by ICAR-CIRCOT on the occasion of its centennial year (2023-24) celebration, partnering with Indian Society for Cotton Improvement (ISCI) Mumbai, International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC) Washington DC, USA, ICAR-Central Institute for Cotton Research (CICR) Nagpur and the Indian Fibre Society (IFS) Mumbai.

During the Inaugural address, Dr. Himanshu Pathak congratulated the entire staff of ICAR-CIRCOT for organizing this international event during its centennial year celebration. He lauded the efforts by Dr. S. N. Jha, Dy Director General (Agri Engg), ICAR, New Delhi and Dr. S. K. Shukla, Director, ICAR-CIRCOT, Mumbai to coordinate this event in a wonderful way. He pointed out that the whole value chain of cotton has to be addressed by multi-disciplinary scientists and the same is being done at ICAR-CIRCOT, Mumbai. Dr. Pathak also mentioned that like having 100 successful years of contribution to the Nation, it is equally important to maintain similar momentum in the coming 100 years also. He congratulated the awardees and honorary fellows and requested their guidance for better performance of the younger generation. Finally, he highlighted the importance of 5Ps, that indicates the partnership among public institution, private organization, peasants and policymakers to have a long-lasting impact on the Indian agriculture.

Asia being the most vibrant hub of cotton production, processing, consumption and trade, this 9th ACRDN meeting & International Conference (Dec 06-08, 2023) at Mumbai gather eminent researchers and stakeholders across the World to address the challenges arising from fluctuating market prices and pest-related issues to sustainability concerns.

Dr. S. K. Shukla, Director, ICAR-CIRCOT, Mumbai welcomed the august gathering and briefed audience with the major achievements of the Institute. Notable achievements included the establishment of various basic properties of cotton fibres and their testing protocols, modernization of ginning industries, application of nanotechnology for value addition to cotton textiles, natural dyes & eco-friendly dyeing techniques for cotton, improved cotton ginning machineries and value addition to cotton biomass and byproducts. 

Dr. C. D. Mayee, President, Indian Society for Cotton Improvement (ISCI) & Former ASRB Chairman elaborated the need to address various issues related to cotton cultivation. He assured the textile industries that the supply of cotton will be assured due to the adoption of efficient water management system, integrated pest management for pink bollworm and white flies in cotton, high density planting system and other agronomic techniques required to enhance the cotton yield.  

 Mr. Eric Trachtenberg, Executive Director, ICAC, Washington DC, USA briefed the august gathering about their diversified activities for the benefit of entire cotton community. ICAC, an association of members of cotton producing, consuming and trading countries, has the 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. He highlighted their mode of working in collaboration with both Government and private sector for overall benefit of the stakeholders.  

While addressing the gathering, Ms. Roop Rashi, Textile Commissioner, Ministry of Textiles, Government of India appreciated the support being rendered by ICAR-CIRCOT, Mumbai and ICAR-CICR, Nagpur for successful implementation of an on-going collaborative project. She expressed gratitude to all cotton scientists for strengthening of cotton value chain starting from farm to industry. She mentioned that as much as 108 processes are being carried out before cotton fibres reaches a consumer in the form of apparel and they need to be improved for efficiency and sustainability. 

Dr. P. G. Patil, Vice Chancellor, MPKV, Rahuri mentioned that this is an auspicious occasion as it marks the confluence of 3 major events, Centenary year of ICAR-CIRCOT, Mumbai; Golden Jubilee year of ISCI, Mumbai and inauguration of 9th ACRDN meeting. He encouraged the researchers to focus on the latest developments like efficient ginning system, tracer fibres for cotton and sustainability practices in cotton cultivation and processing. 

Dr. S. N. Jha, Dy Director General (Agri Engg), ICAR, New Delhi congratulated Dr. Shukla and his team for successful organization of this programme. He emphasized the need to have a joint project to develop cotton varieties suitable for mechanized harvesting. Also, he said that farmers need to be educated about carbon positive agriculture and the effect of carbon emission on the environment. He urged the scientists of ICAR-CIRCOT to come up with robotic harvesting system in two years period of time. 

Shri. Suresh Kotak, Chairman, Kotak Group of Companies & Chairman of Textile Advisory Group (TAG) applauded the continuous efforts of scientists of the Institute in carrying out cutting-edge research in the field of cotton technology. He considered the 9th ACRDN meeting as an accelerator for the ideas coming out of the 81st Plenary meeting of ICAC. He also mentioned that the textile value chain has to be integrated backwards till the farm level so that the entire stakeholders of cotton get benefitted. He urged scientists to work in a collaborative mode for better and faster outcome in advanced research areas. 

Innovative farmers, eminent researchers and faculties were awarded with ICAR-CIRCOT awards, ISCI awards and Honorary fellowship of ISCI. Vote of thanks was delivered by Dr. Y. G. Prasad, Director, ICAR-CICR, Nagpur.