Article was published in November 2017 issue of the AgriBulletin: http://www.bulletin.us.com
Local avocado producer, ZZ2, received astounding awards and accreditations this year. Some give a real glimpse into some of ZZ2’s core principles. Reminds me of the quote, “do what you love and success will follow.” There are those noteworthy achievements that focus on material gain, consumer interaction, effective campaigns and more; and there are those that breathe with life and focus on every being and element involved, such as The Rainforest Alliance CertifiedTM seal.
Those who know The Rainforest Alliance will understand when one describes the process and procedure to achieve accreditation as “lengthy and rigorous”. The Rainforest Alliance describes it as such themselves and prides themselves in their stringent criteria as it is not a seal to be taken lightly.
The Rainforest Alliance has been transforming business practices for the last 30 years. “From the field or forest through the supply chain to the end consumer, the Rainforest Alliance helps your business along its own sustainability journey.” (www.rainforest-alliance.org/business) The little green frog is recognised worldwide as “the symbol of environmental, social and economic sustainability”.
ZZ2 Afrikado spent a dedicated two months processing the application and are proudly the first avocado farm in South Africa to receive this accreditation.
In order to be granted the seal of the frog, farms need to meet the Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Agriculture Standard. “Like our organizational logo, the Rainforest Alliance CertifiedTM seal features a frog for a very good reason”. The first thing one will notice on their website is their phrase “Working with you to rebalance the planet” and frogs, being an indicator species, are a symbol of a healthy environment. For agriculture, The Standard encompasses all three pillars of sustainability – social, economic, and environmental; which is built on these important principles of sustainable farming: biodiversity conservation, improved livelihood and human well-being, natural resource conservation and effective planning and farm management systems. While The Standard forms the foundation of Rainforest Alliance certification, it is also complemented by general Certification Rules and Policies on Pest Management.
The astounding importance of this certification is most would immediately assume that the focus is on nature; however, when one looks at all four principles separately it becomes evident that the balance aimed at achieve involves every being that is a part of the company. Certified farms not only protect their ecosystems in all ways and carefully conserve natural resources, on these farms, the people matter too. Not only does The Standard protect the employees by requiring that farmers conduct healthy labour relations but
demand that the farmer are good neighbours too. On certified farms the farmers are very involved in their own businesses in all aspects, social, environmental and economic facets. “Certified farms implement an integrated farm-planning and –management system, establishing procedures and systems for ensuring continuous improvement on the path toward sustainable agriculture.”
For ZZ2 Afrikado this is the beginning of their journey with The Rainforest Alliance and as the journey evolves towards achieving improved sustainability from field level, right through to the companies and consumers, they will be continually trained and audited. ZZ2 Afrikado sets an example for local agricultural industry and inspires change and possibility with this green and white “seal of the frog”, a “seal of balance.”