Brazil and UN launch Project to help Cotton Farmers Worldwide


13 November 2012 – A $20 million agreement was signed in October by the United Nations and Brazil for a project to transfer Brazil’s expertise to cotton farmers in developing economies.  The four year project will target participating countries with technical assistance and training in best practice in cotton cultivation and marketing. Experiences, technologies and techniques acquired through the initiative will be captured and disseminated to promote further knowledge- and skills transfer.

“This agreement represents an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the effectiveness of South-South cooperation between developing world partners as a vehicle for sustainable economic growth,” said the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), José Graziano da Silva, at the signing ceremony at the agency’s headquarters in Rome on 17 October.

According to the FAO, cotton is fundamental to the economies of many developing nations, particularly in West and Central Africa, where around 10 million small farmers depend on the sector for their income. As a result, the sector occupies a strategic position in the development and poverty-reduction strategies of a number of governments in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

As one of the major producers of cotton in the world, Brazil also has considerable experience in devising new technologies for the cotton production chain, including through cooperative rural development efforts undertaken with other cotton producers such as Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali. The project seeks to capitalize on these experiences to strengthen the agricultural sectors in developing countries and foster cooperation on rural development.

Initially, the project will focus on Haiti and countries in the MERCOSUR zone (South America’s ‘Southern Common Market’), with the possibility of extending it to other developing countries in Latin America and Africa.  The Brazilian Cotton Institute will provide $10 million in financial support, while the Brazilian Cooperation Agency will supply an additional $10 million.

FAO’s Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean will contribute $200,000 worth of non-financial support, including the provision of expertise and technical information, as well as mobilizing its international networks in support of the project.

Established in 1945 and headquartered in Rome, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is an intergovernmental affiliation of 191 member nations, two associate members and one member organization, the European Union.  An arm of the United Nations, FAO’s mandate is to raise levels of nutrition, improve agricultural productivity, better the lives of rural populations and contribute to the growth of the world economy.  In 2010, FAO implemented programmes and projects around the world with a total value of US$903 million.  For more information, visit www.fao.org.

Source: United Nations