Bananas & GreeN FrogS = RainforesT
SustainablE FarminG MethodS
Have you ever seen a green frog on your bananas?
It may sound strange, but it is definitely not impossible.
Most of us only get to see bananas at supermarkets. But obviously they do not grow in grocery stores. In fact, bananas are grown in tropical regions. Specifically, in humid soils with a good drainage system. Therefore, alluvial soils of river valleys are best to boost your bananas (you can find out more about it in our post Where arE BananaS Coming froM & Going tO?). But when choosing a place to grow your bananas, you must use the best farming practices. This means that you must preserve the natural environment and not expand the cropland into forests. And a little green frog plays a key role for this. This frog is called the Rainforest Alliance Seal.
Banana plantations should certainly not be synonymous with deforestation. Therefore, environmentally friendly programs are developed to foster the health of soils and waterways. And a smart tool to achieve this goal is the Rainforest Alliance seal (RA), in other words, the green frog seal ;-).
You might have heard about other environmental certifications. All of them pursue responsible farming methods, and fair and ethical social conditions for all stakeholders. But the Rainforest Alliance seal is not limited to these objectives, it also provides training programs for farmers.
Rainforest Bananas = Sustainable farming methods
In 2020 the RA Certification Program was updated. Therefore, we wanted to dive into its contents and discover its core values. What we learned from this sustainable agricultural standard can be summarized as follows:
📑 Management: planning, organizing, staffing, directing, controlling at the farm must revolve around the commitment to sustainable agriculture. Hence at the heart of the banana plantations’ productivity must be linked to the reduction of social and environmental negative impacts. For instance, RA “includes requirements on the collection of geolocation data to assure traceability of certified products; that they do not come from deforested areas nor from protected areas in which production is strictly forbidden” (Chapter 1 of the RA Standard).
🔎 Traceability: all stakeholders expect transparency along the supply chain. RA assumes this challenge by providing an online platform where bananas can be tracked all along the supply chain, from the farmer to the retailer (Chapter 1 of the RA Standard).
👥 Income and shared responsibility: transparency and inclusiveness must be considered in all banana growing investments. Market actors must “contribute to the investments needed to drive sustainability progress at origin”. Growers cannot remain alone in the fight against climate change (Chapter 3 of the RA Standard).
Transparency and inclusiveness
🌱 Farming: one of the objectives of climate-smart agriculture is tackling soil erosion. Therefore, farming methods must be developed efficiently and boost soil fertility and conservation. Moreover, post-harvesting practices must be employed to “enhance product quality and reduce losses in quantity” (Chapter 4 of the RA Standard).
📗 Social: the fulfilment of all fundamental human and labor rights, living wage, health and safety, and decent living and working conditions is mandatory. RA adapts an “Assess-and-Address” model. “Farms and groups are required to put a rigorous system in place that includes doing a risk assessment and implementing related mitigation measures” (Chapter 5 of the RA Standard).
Environmental & Social Rights
🐸 Environment: farmers must have a positive impact on the environment. Growing bananas with a RA approach must support climate change mitigation (Chapter 6 of the RA Standard).
Ergo, next time when you see a little green frog sticker on your bananas, you can remember all that lies behind it.
According to their website “The Rainforest Alliance is an international non-profit organization working at the intersection of business, agriculture, and forests to create a world where people and nature thrive together”. You can learn more about them here: Rainforest Alliance Org.