Govt approves $125M spend on Clever Cotton plan

Grain Central, July 6, 2023

CRDC executive director Dr Ian Taylor.

THE Federal Government has approved a $125-million investment in Clever Cotton, the Cotton Research and Development Corporation’s new plan to deliver $1 billion worth of impact in Australia’s cotton industry.

Approved by the Minister for Agriculture Murray Watt, the CRDC Strategic RD&E Plan for 2023-2028 has been designed to embody innovation, co-operation and agility of Australia’s cotton industry.

Clever Cotton’s s many aims include the establishment of a sustainable low-carbon production system, and capture of data and insights that enhance the market access and value of Australian cotton.

The roadmap aims to facilitate world-leading RD&E that enables the cotton industry to respond faster to the rising challenges affecting how, where, and how much cotton is produced.

“Biosecurity, a changing climate, demographic shifts, digital disruption, evolving consumer expectations, automation, geopolitical unrest, urbanisation, and competing demands for resources; the challenges facing cotton growers are more complex than ever,” CRDC executive director Ian Taylor said.

“To overcome these 21st-century challenges, we need 21st-century solutions, and that’s what Clever Cotton will deliver,” Dr Taylor said.

He said the cotton industry has a history of ambitious and transformational solutions.

“Over CRDC’s 30-year history, RD&E has helped our growers achieve a 97 percent reduction in insecticide, 52pc reduction in water, and 34pc reduction in land needed to grow a single bale of cotton.

“Our goal now is to deliver the next major step forward for our industry.”

Building on this track record of innovation and adoption, Clever Cotton heralds a new program-based investment approach that encourages researchers to look beyond traditional boundaries, and consider industry’s challenges in the context of the system as a whole.

“To meet the industry-defining challenges that lay ahead of us, we need RD&E that delivers transformational change.

“Rather than smaller projects that, together and over time, add up to deliver meaningful solutions, we’re going to deliver bigger investments with bigger outcomes and bigger impact.

“Clever Cotton champions that approach.”

Clever Cotton reaffirms the industry’s commitment to leading the world in sustainable cotton production, and has three pillars of investment

To focus RD&E efforts, Clever Cotton has three pillars, each with three themes :


  • Data-driven decisions;
  • Adaptive systems; and,
  • Connected market intelligence.


  • Design and innovation;
  • Leadership and capacity; and,
  • Adoption and impact.


  • Natural capital;
  • Carbon; and,
  • Circular economy.

The pillars and themes fit with the Australian cotton industry’s sustainability framework, which recognises sustainability as integral to growing cotton in a variable climate.

Clever Cotton also seeks to maintain trust in the industry, and to securing access in export markets that are starting to regulate the environmental and social impacts of textile production all the way back to the farm.

Source: Australian Government


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