Great achievements and post-Covid-19 challenges mark Abrapa’s 2019/2020 Biennium

Highlights were discussed at an Abrapa event to mark the beginning of the new administration led by Júlio Cézar Busato (BA)

09.12.2020 | 20:59 (UTC -3)
Catarina Guedes

The 2019/2020 biennium, which celebrated the 20th anniversary of the resumption of cotton farming in Brazil, which coincides with the founding of the Brazilian Association of Cotton Producers (Abrapa), with the achievement of second place on the podium of the largest world exporters, and with a record harvest of three million tons, was also due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the reduction in global consumption of lint from 26 million to 24 million tons, and the concern about the lack of rain, on the eve of the planting of the 2020 harvest /2021. These were some of the highlights at Abrapa's press conference, held virtually, on Tuesday (08/12), to mark the end of the management of the board chaired by Milton Garbugio (MT), and the beginning of the new administration, in January , led by Júlio Cézar Busato (BA).

“It was a two-year period of great achievements. We consolidated our Sou de Algodão movement, which today brings together 400 partner brands, and opened our representative office in Singapore, as part of a strategic international marketing action, in partnership with Apex-Brasil, the Cotton Brazil project. We position ourselves as the world's largest producer of fiber licensed by BCI, with a 36% share in the global amount, and we also extended our Responsible Brazilian Cotton program – ABR– to the Cotton Processing Units (UBA), the missing link to make it potentially possible to track a piece of clothing, from the point of sale to the farm”, says Milton Garbugio.

In the more technical line, Garbugio also celebrated the highest reliability index achieved by the Standard Brasil HVI – SBRHVI – program, which parameterized and standardized cotton analyzes by instruments, which he considers a decisive factor for the credibility and strengthening of the image of Brazilian cotton before the market. “All these deliveries are a continuity within the larger concept, which has underpinned Abrapa since its creation, and which we divide into four commitments: quality, traceability, sustainability and promotion”, he explains.

Covid-19 X 2019/2020 Harvest

According to Milton Garbugio, the effects of the pandemic on Brazilian cotton farming will be most felt in the next harvest, which begins to be planted in December. “Our crops were already installed and the culture was developing, with no consequences for productive activity during the period.

“After the harvest, the effects of Covid-19 were notable, mainly in the flow of the harvest to the foreign market. This is because the drop in consumption at the point of sale, around the world, had an impact on the international industry, mostly concentrated in Asia. There were cases of big brands breaking contracts with industries, and many of them postponing the purchase of inputs such as cotton. Because of this, shipments were extended, which, in a super harvest situation, generates larger carryover stocks from this year to next year. Even so, we broke several export records”, recalls Garbugio.

The president highlighted that, of the almost three million tons produced, around 550 thousand tons remain in the country to supply the national industry, and the rest is exported. The country planted 1,6 million hectares of cotton in the 2019/2020 harvest, with a productivity of 1,8 thousand kilos of lint per hectare.

Outlook 2021

The numbers for the 2020/2021 harvest are still preliminary, but will be consolidated at the next meeting of the Cotton and Derivatives Sector Chamber, on December 16th. The delay in rain at the start of the soybean harvest, mainly in the state of Mato Grosso, is a factor of concern. “This is because 90% of the cotton in Mato Grosso is second crop. It is planted simultaneously with the soybean harvest. The delay in planting the oilseed compresses the Mato Grosso cotton window. Despite this rainfall deficit at the beginning of the cycle, the forecasts for this year are for favorable weather, during the development of crops, for the Central-North region of Brazil and still doubtful for the Central-South, due to the influence of the la niña meteorological phenomenon.” , he stated.

Management challenges 2020/2021

According to Júlio Busato, despite the impact of an unprecedented pandemic having forced the sector to review plans and adjust operations, the 2019/2020 management had the merit of advancing in several aspects and delivering relevant numbers and innovative projects. “Continuing the work of the board that preceded us, and, if possible, going further, will be quite a challenge,” he said.

Quality, traceability, sustainability and promotion of Brazilian cotton, according to Busato, will continue to be the focus, “to strengthen the credibility of the national fiber, which will allow us to conquer and maintain markets, mainly abroad”, he said. Júlio Busato cites the Cotton Brazil project and the Sou de Algodão movement as crucial in this mission. “Internally and externally, our mission is to show more and more people how we produce, who we are, what we think and do, transforming the know-how, which we have acquired over these 20 years, into value for our feather”, he concluded.

Mini Bio Júlio Cézar Busato 

Júlio Cézar Busato was born in Casca, Rio Grande do Sul, 59 years ago. He is a descendant of a long line of farmers, which inspired his training as an Agricultural Engineer, graduated from the University of Passo Fundo / RS. In 1987, he moved to Bahia where, with his family, he founded Fazenda Busato/Grupo Busato, which produces, in addition to cotton, soybeans and corn, in the municipalities of São Desidério, Serra do Ramalho and Jaborandi. He is an active and recognized class leader in Brazil: he was president of the Association of Farmers and Irrigators of Bahia (Aiba), the Baiana Association of Cotton Producers (Abapa), the Agribusiness Development Program (Prodeagro) and the Fund for Development of Cotton Agribusiness (Fundeagro). Since 2011, when he began dedicating himself to class representation, he has had and still has a seat on several forums, councils and chambers in the agricultural sector. Among these, he was vice-president of the Instituto Pensar Agro (IPA), presides over the Thematic Chamber of Agricultural Inputs (CTIA/Mapa), and, from January 01, 2021, he will preside over the Brazilian Association of Cotton Producers (Abrapa) , of which he is vice-president, for the 2021/2022 biennium.

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