The United Nations has signed a US$20m agreement with Brazil to support cotton farmers in developing countries.

The four-year project will provide technical support and training on cotton cultivation and marketing. These skills will strengthen the agricultural industry in developing countries and promote rural development, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said.

The agreement will initially focus on Haiti and countries in the Mercosur zone (South America’s ‘Southern Common Market’), with the possibility of extending it to other developing countries in Latin America and Africa.

The Brazilian Cotton Institute will provide $10m in financial support, while the Brazilian Cooperation Agency will supply $10m.

"This agreement represents an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the effectiveness of South-South cooperation between developing world partners as a vehicle for sustainable economic growth," said José Graziano da Silva, director general of the FAO.