Brazil is poised to overtake the United States as the world’s leading cotton exporter, as record heatwaves and drought plague the main US cotton growing region, reports Xinhua.
Texas, in South Central US, suffered its second hottest summer on record this year and the accompanying droughts may negatively impact the 12.5 million bales the country expected to export in the 2023-24 season.
The still-worsening drought has already reduced cotton quality, now only one grade above its worst level on record, while Brazilian cotton remains very good quality thanks to rainfall patterns in the South American giant.
The United States and Brazil, as the top two exporters, account for more than half of the global supply of cotton. But where the US has long dominated exports in the industry, Brazil’s meteoric rise to second place only came in the last decade.
Between 2015 and 2019, Brazil expanded its cotton production by almost 92 percent, making it the fifth-largest producer in the world. The country now holds the number four spot after China, India and the US, with plans to continue increasing the planted area for cotton in the coming years.
Brazil has already supplanted the US as top exporter of two other key agricultural products: soybeans and corn, the latter achieved only last month. The droughts in the US, particularly as Brazil enjoys a robust cotton season, could put Brazil ahead in cotton sooner rather than later.