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Decision and Policy Analysis Research Area – DAPA

Climate change and cotton in Colombia: not all bad news

Yesterday I presented about climate change in the Annual Cotton Harvest Evaluation meeting in Barranquilla, an event organised by CONALGODON, the national federation of cotton growers in Colombia.  We did some preparatory analysis for the meeting, which to my surprise showed that cotton may not be all that badly affected by climate change.  The crop can deal with the increased temperatures.  And in many of the real cotton-growing regions the reductions in precipitation also help production.  However, pests and diseases seem to be the key – the cotton industry is already suffering from many major pests and diseases, and into the future our predictions show that this can only get worse.  Check out the presentation below.

Incidentally, there is a transgenic cotton variety released in Colombia which this year has suffered significantly from excess rainfall from La Nina cycle gripping the country.  Rainfall  has fallen during the critical pollination phase.  Apparently, the variety is highly susceptible to even the slightest bit of rain during flowering.  Seems like varietal development might also need to take into account some abiotic traits as well as biotic resistances.

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