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Brazil, FAO announce cotton aid program

José Graziano da Silva

José Graziano da Silva

The Brazilian government is planning to help other developing countries with their cotton production, but initially not the African countries it has often championed in its trade disputes with the United States, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization announced today.

The project will initially focus on Haiti and the MERCOSUR zone of South America, with a possible later extension into other developing countries in Latin America and Africa, FAO said in a news release.

The four year $20 million collaborative effort between FAO, the Brazilian Cotton Institute (Instituto Brasileño del Algodón, IBA) and the external cooperation wing of Brazil’s Foreign Relations Ministry (Agencia Brasileña de Cooperación, MRE) will target participating countries with technical assistance and training in best practices in cotton cultivation and marketing, FAO said in the news release.

Other members of the MERCOSUR trade union are Argentina, Paraguay and Venezuela, although there have been some conflicts with Paraguay and Venezuela over their status. Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru have associate member status.

Beyond financial support, Brazil also has considerable experience in devising new technologies for the cotton production chain, including through cooperative rural development efforts undertaken with other developing-world cotton producers such as Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali, FAO noted.

“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 FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva, a Brazilian, at an agreement signing ceremony today at FAO’s Rome headquarters.

He was joined by the Brazilian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Antonio de Aguiar Patriota.