According to the Better Cotton Initiative’s (BCI) latest harvest report, Brazil sustained its ranking as the largest source of Better Cotton worldwide last year. 2015 was the fifth year of Better Cotton production in the Latin American country and marked the second year of BCI’s collaboration with the Brazilian Cotton Growers’ Association (ABRAPA). With results of greater involvement and the implementation of more sustainable agricultural practices, Brazil remains a leader in greener cotton production.
BCI’s report confirmed that 189 cotton farmers were licensed to produce Better Cotton crops, resulting in the production of 762,000 metric tons of Better Cotton lint with 556,000 hectares of land. Seven Brazilian states also pledged to ABRAPA and BCI’s partnership, including Bahia, Goiás, Maranhão, Minas Gerais, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul and Piauí.
Last year, Better Cotton increased to more than half (57 percent) of Brazil’s entire cotton crop, compared to 45 percent in 2014. The report explained that while Better Cotton’s total volume in 2015 was unchanged from 2014, the total volume of cotton produced in Brazil went down last year, which caused Better Cotton’s percentage share of the nation’s entire cotton crop to increase.
Although weather challenges affected Brazil’s cotton crops, farmers prevailed over rainfall shortages with precision agriculture technology. This sustainable harvesting method allows for more accurate weather prediction and better decision making via field data analysis. With precision agriculture technology, Brazil’s Better Cotton farmers were more prepared for droughts sparked by El Niño conditions last year.
Better Cotton’s year-on-year increase highlights the organization’s long-term commitment toward more sustainable cotton production by ABRAPA, farmers and other industry affiliates in Brazil. Established in 1999, ABRAPA consists of nine state associations, representing farmers that produce an estimated 99 percent of Brazil’s cotton on large-scale mechanized farms.
The organization’s sustainability working group and sustainability manager are partnering up to foster environmentally-friendly initiatives and maintain the benchmarked agreement with the Better Cotton Standard System. In its collaboration with BCI, ABRAPA will invest in technological innovations that will provide Brazil with a better economy and social outlook in the coming years.