Africa and Brazil to share cotton know-how

The new partnership will facilitate researcher training and the exchange of cotton varieties Copyright: Flickr/UGA College of Agriculture

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[ABIDJAN] Researchers from Africa and Brazil’s agricultural sectors are establishing a new partnership to enable the transfer of agricultural technologies, in support of cotton production in Africa.

The partnership aims to reinforce scientific cooperation between the agricultural sectors of Africa, Brazil and other Latin American countries.

The partnership was formalised in Brasilia, Brazil, last month (2–6 August), during a meeting that brought together researchers from the Brazilian Agricultural Research Enterprise (Embrapa) and the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA).

Embrapa will take part in the training of researchers and technicians from Africa, and also in exchanging crop varieties, according to Ousmane N’doye, programme manager for non-staple crops at the West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF/WECARD), a member of FARA.

N’Doye said it was the first time Embrapa had worked with CORAF, although it had previously worked with other African countries and with FARA.

CORAF/FARA’s visit to Brazil in August had been an opportunity to learn about cotton research in Mato Grosso state’s Institute of Cotton (IMAmt), and to interact with officials from the Brazilian Cooperation Agency (ABC), paving the way for future collaborations, N’Doye said.

As a result, researchers had identified three areas of collaboration with IMAmt: the exchange of plant material with CORAF/WECARD; support for the training of researchers and technicians; and capacity building for Brazilian researchers to assist them in improving drought adaptation capacity.

CORAF/WECARD’s director of programmes, Harold Roy-Macauley, said the Africa-Brazil partnership will enable the exchange of scientific information and was aimed, above all, at "defining the objectives and priorities of common research".

Roy-Macauley said that Brazilian researchers will also benefit from their African colleagues’ expertise in the area of drought and climate change adaptation.

Kouakou Yao, a researcher at the University of Abobo Adjamé in Côte-d’Ivoire, welcomed the scientific partnership, saying it could boost the agrarian development of African countries.

"Brazil has roughly the same climate as Sub-Saharan Africa. We can, therefore, take real advantage of the Brazilian experience," he told SciDev.Net.