THE cotton industry has come out fighting against a proposal by the South Australian-based Centre Alliance party to ban cotton exports.
Labelling the move a “political stunt”, Cotton Australia chief executive officer, Adam Kay, said it was an attack on the cotton industry and the rural communities and farmers involved in it.
“Once again we are seeing some politicians, mainly those from South Australia where no cotton is grown, kick our hardworking growers in an attempt to score easy political points,” he said.
“These farmers are enduring one of the toughest droughts in our nation’s history and do not deserve to be targeted so unfairly. It must stop.
“Our industry will not be dictated to by some point-scoring politicians disguising their vendetta against our industry as being in the ‘national interest’.”
Mr Kay said exporting cotton was not like ‘exporting water’ as the Centre Alliance asserted.
“This ridiculous claim blinkers itself to the fact that most agricultural exports in Australia use water in some way. To ban the export of cotton based on its water use would set a dangerous precedent for the fate of other agricultural industries that use water,” he said.
“It must be pointed out that, based on hectares, over 50 per cent of this year’s cotton crop is either dryland cotton or is being grown outside the Murray-Darling Basin.”
Mr Kay said the idea that if the cotton industry was restricted, or banned, more water would be saved for the environment was “ludicrous and represents a lack of understanding of water licensing”.
“Banning cotton would not see any extra water returned to the environment, as the water has been allocated to the irrigator’s licence,” he said.
“Cotton is the crop of choice as it gives growers the best return per megalitre of water. Other summer crops, like corn and soybeans, use similar amounts of water per hectare. Cotton is an annual crop that is only grown when sufficient water is available. If cotton was to be banned in Australia, farmers would use their water to grow the next most profitable crop.”
Source: Cotton Australia