Program of Brazil-FAO International Cooperation

Lazos and the Latin American cotton chain

Lazos is a digital initiative of the +Cotton project and the cotton sector in Latin America, created to promote spaces for dialogue on cotton, with a focus on connecting cotton actors and institutions, exchanging best practices, transferring experiences, promoting knowledge generation, and enhancing the visibility of rural work. Lazos is a social network for the exchange of all things related to sustainable cotton in Latin America. 

Built upon the principles of Communication for Development, Lazos seeks to improve the quality of life for cotton-producing populations by creating spaces and fostering skills to transform individual, localized experiences into shared ones. 

Participating countries: Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia, Peru.

Number of users: 600+

The Lazos app is available for both Android and iOS systems. 

Inspiring experience

In 2023, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations released a publication featuring 18 inspiring experiences that showcase successful stories and best practices for transforming agri-food systems in the region. Among them, the Lazos initiative was highlighted. You can access the full publication here. 

Brief description

Currently, the Lazos application is positioned as the social network connecting the entire Latin American cotton sector. It provides spaces for the formation of discussion communities in a secure environment that encourages participation and exchange, emphasizing reciprocity and learning in the digital realm.

Lazos is a network created to establish a stronger sense of community within the sector, allowing the sharing of needs, actions, content, and the creation of lasting connections.


To harness the power of Communication to support the rural sector of Latin America in preserving the culture and cultivation of cotton, a plant that tells the story of humanity's identity and history. 


  • To connect the entire Latin American cotton sector—cooperatives, associations, trade organizations, artisans, researchers, farmers, public institutions, projects/activities aimed at sector development, textile industry, and private companies involved in cotton—to facilitate the exchange of information, growth, and joint development through a secure dialogue space.
  • To form exchange and work communities within the application. 

#RuralConnect – Examples of shared content

  • Felipe Guimarães (Embrapa Cotton): "The weevil is an insect that reproduces rapidly. A female lays an average of 200 eggs per clutch and can have up to 6 clutches. It takes about 15 days for them to become adults and re-infest the area. Thus, we need to be very attentive to implement control practices at the right time."
  • María del Carmen Gauto (School of Authentic Ao po'i safeguard, Paraguay): "Experiences related to Ao po'i (fine fabric) handicraft tourism in Yataity Guairá, Paraguay."
  • Rozana Soares (Vale do Jequitinhonha, Minas Gerais, Brazil): "See how enchanting Mrs. Maria da Conceição de Souza Barbosa, 83 years old, is, spinning and singing. This is the craft of artisans who love to weave and continue this traditional art of Berilo. Quilombola community of Roca Grande. Since the 18th century, the Berilo region in the Jequitinhonha Valley, Minas Gerais, has been known for the uniqueness of its fabric, passed down through generations. Did you know that there is community tourism in Berilo? You can take the Quilombo Route and have an incredible experience! Follow @tecelagemderocagrande on Instagram."
  • Rafael Henrique (Ingá, Paraíba, Brazil): "Sesame planting is essential to combat leaf-cutting ants, alongside cotton planting."
  • Manfreed Camilo (FAO Colombia): "In the beautiful Cereté, Córdoba, we are taking firm steps toward sustainability in fashion. The cooperation between the public and private sectors, along with Blockchain technology, is transforming our cotton value chain. Today, we are starting the traceability and transparency pilot with the implementation of Blockchain technology in Colombia. The pilot begins with 6 family cotton farmers who have embraced sustainable cotton with traceability and transparency for the Colombian textile industry."
  • Antonio Melo (Ingá, Paraíba, Brazil): "This is our organic pesticide used for cotton, corn, beans, and peas production. Here, we take care of our environment and our health."
  • Adriana Gregolin (+Cotton): "The selling price of colored cotton is higher and varies depending on the purchasing company. It can be 3 to 4 times the price paid for white cotton."
  • Monica Loor (Community Women's Association of Canton Tosagua, Manabi, Ecuador): "We are Family Farming. To sustain autonomy, food sovereignty.

The strategic foundation of Lazos

The Lazos initiative is built upon the principles of Communication for Development (C4D). C4D actions in rural areas of Latin America are designed to address social issues and their solutions, creating spaces, and fostering skills to transform individual, localized experiences into shared ones. 

C4D projects work to promote the empowerment of peripheral groups to build/enhance their collective arrangements, which can optimize their indirect presence in public policy planning spaces. Successful communication for development occurs when it articulates spaces for peripheral populations to express themselves, share, enrich their knowledge, and gain autonomy to advocate for their demands and priorities. 

Lazos was initiated by the +Cotton project to support project management for institutions and promote rural development in peripheral populations in Latin America.

Lazos includes: 

  • An application (available for Android and iPhone): a social network that connects the cotton sector—producers, rural organizations, institutions, businesses, academia, schools, and more. It shares news, events, etc., and organizes virtual communities around specific themes (agroecological cotton, food security, cotton certification, markets, seeds, etc.).
  • A platform: encodes and stores the application's content. It allows for mapping critical topics and generating alerts on areas that need greater emphasis.
  • Digital literacy training activities: focusing on digital literacy, considering that a lack of digital education has negative consequences on well-being, resilience, and economic opportunities (games, workshops, etc.).


  1. Reduce the isolation of the Latin American cotton sector and promote an information exchange, growth, and development space.
  2. Support the sustainability of projects aimed at developing the Latin American cotton chain so that, after the project's completion, there is continuity of actions and connections between actors and institutions.



For institutions: 

  • Support for the sustainability of projects aimed at the Latin American cotton sector.
  • Opportunity to connect with the Latin American cotton sector.
  • Identification, mapping, and analysis of interactions through metrics.
  • Connection with over 100 partner institutions of the +Cotton project.
  • Showcasing the work to the cotton sector in the seven partner countries of the +Cotton Project.


For cotton farmers: 

  • Visibility for work carried out in the field.
  • Participation in thematic communities.
  • Asking questions, sharing experiences, ideas, and knowledge.
  • Connecting with partner institutions of the +Cotton Project and the Lazos Initiative.


Distinguishing features: 

  • High potential to unite the entire Latin American cotton sector through the networks of the +Cotton project (ABC, FAO, and partner countries).
  • All published content is stored in the cloud, on the server, not on users' phones.
  • Availability of an IT team for making adjustments to the application as requested by projects joining the Initiative.
  • Team available for conducting and sharing usage/interaction metrics.
  • Team available for digital literacy activities with projects joining the Initiative.
  • No user limit for communities.
  • Lazos management team is attentive to interactions and compliance with privacy policies and terms of use.
  • Possibility to connect with all of Latin America (universities, companies, associations, institutions, farmers).
  • Available for pilots—tests with partner institutions and projects.


The application offers: 

  • A methodology oriented towards rural extension, with scalability potential for improving various rural territories and agricultural chains in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • A news feed for publishing information, updates, and news related to the cotton sector and the rural sector.
  • Thematic communities for information exchange and project management.
  • The opportunity to share photos, videos, documents.
  • Access to technical issue resolution and the provision of solutions in an agile manner.
  • New content for the social and economic development of farming families.

Connecting to Lazos step-by-step

How it works 

  1. The user downloads Ties from the Play Store or the Apple Store, registers, and creates a password.
  2. Users have free access to publish content on the application's timeline and in discussion communities.
  3. Interaction with other users' posts is possible through comments.

How to publish 

  • Users can publish directly from the first screen of the application, using a text box designed for this purpose.
  • Additionally, on the main screen of the application, users will find the 'pen' button. By selecting the 'pen' button, users can create their posts and choose where to publish them (on the timeline or in a discussion community). 

Accessing Communities 

  • On the main screen of the application, users will find the 'magnifying glass' button.
  • By selecting the 'magnifying glass' button, users gain access to all existing communities in the application and can request access to those of interest.  

Lazos App Communities

Thematic communities can be either public, with open content accessible to all application users, or private, with content accessible only to authorized users. Lazos has the potential to be a project management support tool for institutions. 

Download Lazos App

The application can be downloaded for free from: 

  • Play Store for Android phones, through the FAO store. Download it here.
  • Apple Store for iOS phones, through the FAO store. Download it here

How can an institution or project associate with Lazos and participate in the Initiative?

The Lazos initiative is open to new institutions and projects that want to participate. To join the Initiative and begin sharing content, a project or institution can simply download the application and participate. For creating a specific project community or requesting digital education actions, please contact [email protected] or [email protected].




The Lazos initiative, which began in 2019, has developed through three phases, currently in the third phase:


  • Development of an application and platform with the support of the Federal University of Santa Maria (UFSM).
  • Implementation of pilots in Paraguay and Ecuador.
  • Scaling up the social network of the cotton sector at a regional level.