Growth for Better Cotton and ABR Cotton in Brazil

BCI recently held its first official Partners’ meeting with Abrapa in Brasilia, which followed the successful conclusion of a Strategic Partnership Agreement between the two organisations in March of this year.As a result, all Brazilian growers of certified ABR cotton are eligible to opt-in and have ABR cotton recognised as Better Cotton from this year forward. Tremendous progress continues to be made in bringing more Brazilian farmers on-board with the ABR and Better Cotton programmes, and the total Better Cotton lint production in 2014 is expected to increase by more than one-third compared to last year. Not only will this contribute to the continued growth of Better Cotton in the global supply chain, but also provide Brazilian farmers with a way to better showcase their sustainability credentials.

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Better Cotton debuts in South America

09.08.13 Fibre 2 Fashion
www.fibre2fashion.com

Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) South American debut took place in the VICUNHA showroom in S√£o Paulo. A separate BCI corner was installed as a platform for documentaries and presentations, in order to introduce BCI to major South American partners. BCI representative, Lilly Milligan Gilbert, was specially flown in from Geneva to Brazil for the event.

Having started only three harvests ago, the global cultivation of sustainable cotton reached a total of 670 thousand tons for the 2011/12 harvest, 3% of the world’s fiber production in the season. So far, BCI production has been restricted only to Brazil, India, Pakistan and Mali. This year BCI gained the adhesion of producers from China, Turkey and Mozambique and, until 2015, the United States and Australia will also join the group.
This should increase the total sustainable production of the fiber to 2.6 million Tons. The movement establishes cotton cultivation with less environmental impact, as well as more financial and social gains for the producer.

”Having 3% in the total production of sustainable cotton in only three years is not of little significance – it is more than the worldwide production of organics and “fair trade’, which are much more consolidated segments”, says BCI’s Membership Manager, Lilly Gilbert.

”From now on we will havethe big producers andconsumers on our side.After the first yearsof implementing BCI, theexpansion strategy proposedfor the period from 2013to 2015 builds not onlyon the entry of more producers,but also on expandingindustry and retailer

membership, thus improving the whole chain.”

In Brazil, for example, only the textile company VICUNHA joined BCI: ”The idea”, says Lilly, ”is that BCI should be the “mainstream’ cotton, instead of operating in a niche market targeting consumers aware of sustainability issues. It is an ambitious but realistic goal”, she said, during her VICUNHA-sponsored visit to S√£o Paulo last week in order to attract new members.

”In the next two years BCI cotton is expected to reach 2.6 Million tons produced by 1 million licensed producers. By 2020, the goal is to reach 30% of the global cotton production, which would involve 5 million producers and potentially benefit 20 million people, taking into account the role of the families involved in this kind of agricultural activity.”

Lilly mentions the advances seen so far, saying that the goals can be achieved: ”In two harvests the number of licensed producers grew from 68 thousand to 165 thousand and the area planted jumped from 225 thousand to 550 thousand hectares. In turn, the production increased from 35 thousand tons in 2010 to 670 thousand tons harvested last year.”

Brazil alone accounts for the area and volume: ”Unlike the other countries, our agriculture consists of large landholdings”, says Andrea Aragon, the Brazilian coordinator of the BCI. ”The implementation of the project in the country is done in partnership with the Brazilian Association of Cotton Producers (Abrapa). Brazil has until now been the driving force behind BCI’s expansion.”

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