The Brazilian Association of Cotton Producers (ABRAPA) hosted the 12th Brazilian Cotton Congress in Goiânia from 27 to 29 August. The event featured a wide program of workshops, courses and plenary sessions, addressing the main issues related to the sector. “Cotton-growing as a flagship for tomorrow’s agriculture” was the central theme chosen for this year’s edition. The congress, which takes place every 2 years, was supported by the Brazilian Cooperation Agency (ABC), which is responsible for strengthening cotton chain development programs in countries in Africa and Latin America.
Agencies such as WFP, FAO, ILO and UNDP, which develop cooperation projects with ABC, were present at the event, bringing delegations from countries in Africa and Latin America that had more than 150 participants, including political actors, research institutions, private sector and representative classes of cotton farmers. The WFP Centre of Excellence against Hunger’s Beyond Cotton project organized the arrival of representatives from the partner countries of Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya and Benin. They exchanged knowledge with other delegations and were presented to the productive dynamics of the Brazilian cotton sector.
ABC, partner countries and WFP held meetings to discuss strategies, strengthen commitments to implement country projects and study actions that complement the projects to be developed. Examples of these complementary initiatives are the use of technological innovations, different technical expertise and the development of new public policies.
As a result of the meetings held with partners, the Beyond Cotton project will broaden the agenda of activities in the countries. In Benin, the prospecting mission to build the country project will be held in the last weeks of September. In Mozambique, the country project review and signature process will soon begin. In Tanzania, the country project diagnostic validation mission will be held in October. In Kenya, the Country Diagnosis will be built with the direct participation of national institutions.
PMA, FAO, ILO and UNDP, together with ABC and ABRAPA, held a parallel complementary event to the congress. The event aimed to discuss the importance of sustainable cotton certification as a means of ensuring access to markets and opportunities for other production chains, especially food associated with cotton crops. The workshop, hosted by expert Scott Exo, detailed the process required to acquire BCI (Better Cotton Initiative) certification. Exo stressed that the process is conditioned to the awareness and guidance of cotton farmers, employees and other agents of the cotton production chain to the importance of fair labor relations and socio-environmental responsibility in the field.
Beyond Cotton Project
Beyond Cotton is a joint initiative of the WFP Centre of Excellence against Hunger and the Brazilian Cooperation Agency, with support from the Brazilian Cotton Institute. It aims to support smallholder cotton producers and public institutions in African countries to connect cotton by-products, such as seed oil and cake, and associated crops, such as maize, sorghum and beans, to reliable markets, including school feeding programmes.