Dr. Michel Fok Resignation

Dear Researchers;

I am extremely shocked on the resignation of Dr. Michel Fok. He was with me from the very beginning for the formation of ICRA. Michel is a big supporter of cooperation among researchers. I found him always coming forward with new ideas and willingness to work with anybody who extended him a hand. His contributions to the work of the ICAC through his active role on the SEEP (Social, Environmental and Economic Performance of Cotton) are immense. His work at CIRAD is much appreciated and he owns a great respect among researchers in the West African countries. I can say with confidence that he played a significant role in bringing CIRAD and ICAC closer to work together for common interests of the research community. He has a high number of publications to his credit. He lead ICRA very well and dedicated his full abilities and time for ICRA uplift for the last over 8 years.

Michel was going to retire in April which he already indicated to ICRA community. Now what lead him to resign is terrible. There are some elements that forced him to resign. I am not really in the loop for all the correspondence among EC members but the forces behind his resignation are not that secret either. It is disappointing that some people failed to play their role to resolve issues and the research community had to lose the leadership role of Michel.

I will humbly submit that it is time for the research community to stay united. ICRA is a great organization and has to achieve a lot yet.

M. Rafiq Chaudhry


Time has come

After having joined the Executive Committee since the inception of ICRA, hence for about ten years, I thought it was time for me to step out as I am at a few months to be retired.  So, I have just sent my letter of resignation (mfok_resignation) to the Executive Committee.

My decision to leave my position earlier than scheduled is linked to the discomfort I have perceived among a number of ICRA members and that I created by my decision to suspend the elections for the renewal of the Executive Committee. While I still believe that the decision was necessary, I do not want to be an obstacle in any way to the operation of ICRA and to its evolution.

I believe in exchanges between persons in mutual respect and in the inter-generational transfer of knowledge in implementing research. This website has been conceived for this purpose, so I will stay among you and keep contributing in any area where I could share my experience, at least as long as the membership to ICRA is not strictly restrained to active researchers.

All the best to you all.


History under writing

The content of this post is a replication of a message I have just sent. You can react to my message by commenting this post.

This is to attract your attention to the fact that some of you have taken over the challenge of embarking to write of the history of cotton research. Click on wiki after logging in and discover what has been started for the State of Gujarat, as a chapter of the history of cotton research in India. This chapter will be enriched as additional materials are provided.

The supply of some materials related to the cotton history in Sudan gave me the idea of starting a book dedicated to the tools, implements and devices in cotton production. I believe that many research teams have carried out specific tools for the implementation of their experiments and they could be useful to research fellows in other countries if not to cotton growers producing on small scale. I hope that many of you could contribute to this book.

I do hope that we could actually achieve  a collaborative approach in writing our Gossybooks in our Gossypedia. This means that every one could free to contribute to books under process.

The Gossypedia functionality of our website is well adapted to the collaborative process in the sense that books, chapters or pages are “viewable” by ICRA members only when we decide to. This means that, as long as the writing of a page is not over, it can remain hidden and only viewable to and editable by those endowed with the relevant rights.

Even when some of you volunteer for a book or a chapter, they have been reluctant so far to take command of the Gossypedia tool and play the editor’s role. By default, I am playing this role.Although I understand the hesitation to invest in mastering a web tool, the current way is not sustainable as I should be quitting my position soon.


Cotton research history?

World Cotton Day

As we have been recently recalled, ICAC has launched the initiative of declaring October 7 as the World Cotton Day. Hopefully, in a couple of days, it will become the new UN World Cotton Day and give us some pride in working on cotton.

For sure, the World Cotton Day will be celebrated at various cotton research organizations all over the world, along celebrations initiated by other stakeholders of the cotton industry.

World Cotton Research History?

I nevertheless wonder how we, cotton scientists or professionals, could more specifically celebrate cotton.

I believe that many of you would concur with me that research has contribute a lot to what cotton industry has become in all producing countries. However, is there any track of that? Has the history of cotton research ever been written and updated anywhere? Would it be relevant to initiate the writing of such histories in producing countries so as to compose the World History of Cotton Research?

Answers and challenges are yours! And quite difficult.

More modestly and realistically, would you have ideas of particular research outputs, maybe associated to particular researchers, that you think have been crucial breakthroughs in the development of the cotton industry in your country?


Cotton-innovation website

Cotton-innovation website:

A site dedicated to cotton innovations for West and Central Africa, an English version of this website is now available

Factsheets are available on innovations in the cotton supply chains, sustainability indicators for cotton farming systems (related to the SEEP report), economic information, etc.

Enjoy your visit.


Learning from others: which additional activities to cope with?

Which activities ICRA is offering now?

Since the launch of the new version of our wbesite, activities and benefits that members can enjoy are:

♦ information from posts submitted by members

♦ information on cotton-research related events

♦ information on demands and offers of research collaboration, including job vacancies

♦ advanced tool to inform on each member’s profile, with particular focus on his/her research projects and publications

♦ forum discussions, open to all members or restricted to members of small groups, as many groups as desired

♦ wiki function for collaborative writing of books in the prospect of generational transfer

♦ WCRC with a periodicity of around 4 years

ICRA is so far particular by not having its own scientific journal.

What other similar associations are offering?

To my knowledge, most if not all associations of researchers have been set up around the publication of an established and acknowledged journal. This is what I have been observing in the area of economics, like for the International Association of Feminist Economics (IAFFE), or for the International Association of Agricultural Economists (IAAE).

With reference to the two mentioned journals, I observe that activities/benefits they have been proposing on fee-payment basis are the follwing:

♦ subscription to a journal

♦ annual or pluri-annual conference, possibly at various geographic scales

♦ forum discussions

♦ member directory, handbook

♦ newsletter, alerts

♦ compilation of bibliographies

It would be great that we could process more systematically about the activities of existing researchers/scholars’ association by discipline. I hope that this suggestion will provoke reactions and some of you will volunteer to contribute.

Young, but not lagging so much behind

Through the two examples I have analyzed, for sure the sample is too small, I can claim that our activities are not so much lagging behind. I can even assume that our forum tool is more advanced than in other associations. I could also hypothesize that the operation of our tools are less centralized, hence more open and flexible in their use.

Nevertheless, however valuable our tools or activities could be, they only make sense if ICRA members actually make use of them. This is not yet the case. Maybe reaction to this post will be a good start?

Reply in GossyForum: Clearer when specified

Reply: a way of participating to a discussion launched

You can participate to discussion by launching it, as already indicated in a former post, or to react to a discussion launched by another. You react by “Reply”

Two modalities to Reply

You can reply in general to the discussion, not referring to a specific contribution of the forum member, in this case, click on “write a reply”.

You can also reply to a particular contribution, in this case click on “reply” at the bottom of the related contribution.

The distinction enabled is of interest because every contributor could see what were the reactions to his specific contribution.

Website not optimized for all browsers

Our Website is optimized for Google Chrome

Websites are seldom optimized for all browsers. ICRA website has been optimized for Google Chrome. With Mozilla Firefox, I have not seen any trouble. It works also pretty good with Explorer but not for version 10 or before.

If you are using Explorer, you have to update to version posterior to version 10.

Website optimized for smartphone

Our website operates also quite perfectly on smartphones, at least as far as Android system is concerned. I have not checked for iPhones, sorry for the Apple aficionados. Their feedback on how our website operates will be greatly appreciated.


Our website works well in China

A post from China

This is to inform you that I am now in China, more precisely in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang province, North-West of China. It has been the main cotton region for a while and it’s going to be furthermore the case because of the cotton decline in the traditional provinces of cotton production.

I am here to provide some awareness about the sustainability indicators of cotton production. Hopefully, a partnership could be set up to have a set of indicators identified by Chinese fellows and informed by relevant data.

I have not yet the full program of my stay here. I have asked to visit research stations and cotton producers.


ICRA website works without any trouble here

I have been testing various functions of our website since I have arrived. Everything is going well.

Chinese can even be keyboarded (中文都可以写)

A few words about Gossypedia

A little less blank

I talked about the vertigo of empty pages when introducing very briefly the wiki function of our new website, I realize that it was really totally empty because I have not created anything inside. As such, you could not figure out how our Gossypedia will appear.

Virtual things are created now

I have created two virtual books, each one has chapter(s) and page(s). We can have as many books as desired. Only members having been endowed of the role of contributor (right to write) or editor (having in addition the role of deciding publishing what a contributer has written, or to amend the text of the contributor) coud write or correct the contents of the books.

Challenges ahead

We have to decide on what to write and to identify who is willing to contribue and edit. Once this identification has started, I can link them to several groups which will be able to interact exclusively by using GossyForum.