The Brazilian Cooperation Agency (ABC), the Brazilian Cotton Institute (IBA), and the WFP Centre of Excellence against Hunger signed on 26 September the project “Alternatives for the distribution of by-products of cotton and combined crops in Africa “.
The South-South cooperation project aims to support small-scale cotton producers and public institutions in four African countries in the commercialization of cotton by-products (such as oil and cottonseed meal) and products from other crops combined to cotton production (such as corn, sorghum and bean). The initiative aims to contribute to increasing the income of smallholder farmers and to improve their food and nutritional security.
Coordinated by the Brazilian Cooperation Agency and implemented by the Centre of Excellence against Hunger, the project will complement other South-South cooperation initiatives conducted by the Brazilian government in the cotton-growing sector in Africa, such as the Cotton-4 + Togo, Cotton Victoria and Zambezi Cotton Shire. The project also complements the South-South cooperation activities in food and nutritional security developed by the WFP Centre of Excellence against Hunger
Among the planned activities is the training of small-scale cotton producers for the production and marketing of cotton by-products and combined crops in public and private markets. Awareness-raising and technical support to public agencies in the partner countries will also be promoted so that the use of cotton by-products and combined crops is incorporated into government programmes. In addition, the project will promote exchanges between countries. Four countries will be selected from among the 10 countries with which Brazil already cooperates in the cotton sector.
The African continent is among the largest cotton producers in the world. In sub-Saharan Africa, cotton is grown almost exclusively by smallholder farmers, dependent on the work of family members. While demand for cotton fiber has presented variations on a global level, there is a growing interest in cotton by-products such as seed, cottonseed meal, cottonseed oil, and linter. The project takes advantage of this marketing potential to contribute to the increase of cotton producers’ income through the expansion of the commercialization of cotton by-products.
The marketing of these by-products can increase producers’ incomes and, at the same time, promote food and nutritional security. Although mainly known for the fiber used in the textile industry, cotton generates other products, such as the cottonseed oil, which is highly nutritious due to the presence of essential fatty acids. The inclusion of cottonseed oil in the diet of children and adults, for example, can help prevent a number of health problems related to malnutrition. Another beneficial byproduct is the cottonseed meal, obtained in the process of extraction of the cottonseed oil. It can be used as fertilizer, in the dye industry and in the production of animal feed.
The project includes the exchange of effective solutions to reduce food insecurity and support smallholder farming, based on the Brazilian experiences in the areas of institutional procurement from smallholder agriculture, technical assistance and rural extension, and school feeding.