Engage Your Agricultural Business
Agriculture -- farming and grazing -- already uses 38 percent of the Earth's lands. Industrial agriculture is a leading polluter and a rapacious user of water. As population pressures increase everywhere, and the pace of conversion from forests to farmland accelerates, current practices will only continue to intensify the cycle of poverty experienced by most farmers, especially in and around our planet's most sensitive and unique ecosystems.
But Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms have reduced their environmental footprint, are good neighbors to human and wild communities and are often integral parts of regional conservation initiatives.
Under the auspices of the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN), an international coalition of leading conservation groups, the Rainforest Alliance works with farmers to ensure compliance with the SAN standards for protecting wildlife, wild lands, workers' rights and local communities. Farms that meet these rigorous standards are awarded the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal.
Rainforest Alliance Certified means:
- Less water pollution, as all sources of contamination (pesticides, fertilizers, sediment, wastewaters, garbage, fuels and so on) are controlled.
- Less soil erosion, as farms implement soil conservation practices such as planting on contours and maintaining ground cover.
- Reduced threats to the environment and human health, as the most dangerous pesticides are prohibited and all agrochemical use is strictly regulated, farmers must use mechanical and biological pest controls where possible and strive to reduce both the toxicity and quantity of chemicals used.
- Wildlife habitat is protected, as deforestation is stopped, the banks of rivers are protected by buffer zones, critical ecosystems such as wetlands are protected and forest patches on farms are preserved.
- Less waste, as farm by-products such as banana stems, coffee pulp, orange peels and un-marketable foliage are composted and returned to the fields as natural fertilizer. Other wastes, such as plastics, glass and metals are recycled whenever possible.
- Less water used, as water conservation measures are applied in washing and packing stations, housing areas and irrigation systems.
- More efficient farm management, as the certification program helps farmers organize, plan, schedule improvements, implement better practices, identify problems and monitor progress.
- Improved conditions for farm workers, who get fair wages, decent housing, clean drinking water, sanitary facilities and a safe and wholesome work area. Workers and their families also have access to schools, health care, transportation and training.
- Improved profitability and competitiveness for farmers, who have increased production, improved quality, reduced worker complaints and increased worker efficiency. The Rainforest Alliance Certified seal of approval offers farmers more leverage at the time of sale, product differentiation, premium prices and improved access to credit.
- More collaboration between farmers and conservationists. Parks alone cannot save the world's biodiversity; we have to ensure that wild flora and fauna find refuge outside of protected areas. Because farmers control the fate of so much land and so many critical habitats, their ideas and willingness to participate are essential to any local or regional conservation strategy.