In view of many transformations in the production and consumption process, Cotton Brazil represents a new step for Brazilian cotton in the global market. After 20 years of constant innovation, research, and investments led by Abrapa (Brazilian Association of Cotton Growers), now with the support of the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brazil), its members and partner, it is time to offer the textile universe a raw material that constantly seeks to evolve in quality and sustainability. The market prioritizes transparency, and Cotton Brazil fosters Brazilian Cotton emphasizing its support of the environment and its promotion of social and economical development. In our scenario, advanced technology and agricultural management tools add to the dedicated expertise of trained professionals to develop precision, sustainable growing practices. Recently President of the Brazilian Cotton Growers Association (ABRAPA) Mr. Júlio Cézar Busato visited Bangladesh. Team Textile Focus had a conversation with him, and key discussion points are mentioned for our readers-
TF: Can you please share with us the recent scenario of the global cotton sector?
Júlio Cézar Busato: In the last 3-4 years, there is a sign of increasing cotton consumption worldwide. Before the pandemic, cotton consumption was 25 million tons worldwide. And currently 27 million tons. So it seems that people are staying at home due to the pandemic. They are valuing cotton because of its comfort as it is natural. Also in regards to Brazilian Cotton, it has sustainable certification and social & Environment certifications such as ABR (Responsible Brazilian Cotton) and BCI. As well as there is another issue of microfibers that are released by synthetic products. And This is a global concern nowadays. So we believe that global consumption of cotton will continue to grow & Brazilian producers will be the ones who will be able to meet the demand of Bangladesh.
TF: Please share with us the recent activity of Cotton Brazil?
Júlio Cézar Busato: ABRAPA has already organized a seminar online together with different associations in Bangladesh to show what the Brazilian Producers are doing and how they produce cotton. Moreover, Brazil is the 4th largest cotton producer in the world and the 2nd largest exporter of cotton. We have a big focus on quality, for example, all of the cotton harvested are picked mechanically. No manual process is used. It means Brazilian cotton is contamination free. Additionally, all of the cotton bales that are exported are fully HVI tested.
Apart from that, we have a traceability program, which means, every bale of cotton can be traced back to the farm, the name of the farmers, and also the gins that were baled. In terms of sustainability, we have a specific program called Brazilian Responsible cotton (ABR) which is one of the most widely used sustainability programs all over the world. So, why is it such a complete program? Because it covers 3 pillars, the first one is economic aspects which aim to ensure there is value for everybody in the cotton chain. Second is the Social Pillar which requires all of the producers to comply with Brazilian Labor laws and also with compliance with the International Labor Organization (ILO) criteria. And the last one is the environmental Pillar, which is according to the Brazilian forest code which requires on average every farmer to use 40% of their land for vegetation. It represents huge environmental aspects and because of this Brazilian Responsible Cotton Program (ABR) is the most important and biggest in the world. And we are very proud to say that at the time, 84% of all cotton production in Brazil are covered by the sustainability program. This sustainability program is audited by an internationally renowned third-party certification company. And currently, Brazil supplies 42% of BCI cotton all over the world.
And we are now in our second phase of activities, which involves coming here to Bangladesh to meet the people, companies, and Mills, and find out what their needs are. We will listen to them to understand better what are their requirements. So, we aim to bring everybody closer together and establish a relationship of trust, reliability, and credibility.
TF: How do you see Bangladesh Market for Brazilian Cotton?
Júlio Cézar Busato: We already knew that Bangladesh is the second-largest exporter of cotton in the world. It’s growing more and more. So, this is why we came here and visit to understand how the mills work here. We have been able to see how dedicated and hardworking the people are here in this industry, and this impressed us very much. Currently, Brazil’s share in the Bangladesh market is only 13%, so we believe that it’s possible to increase the market share quite dramatically in Bangladesh. That is our overall aim to build a relationship in order to establish a better exchange of information and increase market share.
We have communicated with some buyers who are using Brazilian cotton. We got very positive feedback from them. Obviously, that makes us satisfied. But of course, there are a few things to improve in some specific areas. Getting back to Brazil we will together discuss the scenario we have witnessed and information we have gathered and stories we have heard here in Bangladesh like the need to improve the short Fiber index, logistic issues, lead time, and so on.
TF: Any special message to Textile Industry?
Júlio Cézar Busato: First of all, we really appreciate how the way we have been welcomed here in Bangladesh. We just want to say that we are impressed by what we have seen on our visit. In terms of Brazilian Cotton, if you consider that the consumption of cotton around the world is going to grow, and Bangladesh is growing with this industry, then demand for Brazilian cotton will also grow. For your information, during the last 5 years, we have doubled our production. If there is a market, we can do it again. If Bangladesh wants to grow, we can have some synergies as we have a common goal of growth.