FrieslandCampina Riedel and Solidaridad are expanding their sustainability program Rural Horizons in Brazil. The decision follows a successful pilot phase with a cooperative consisting of 43 orange farmers. Solidaridad wants to include more cooperatives, aiming to reach a minimum of 2,000 Brazilian citrus growers.
FrieslandCampina Riedel is a Dutch dairy and drinks consortium. It produces, among others, a range of fruit drinks under the brand name Appelsientje. The company began working with Solidaridad in 2012, in order to make orange cultivation in Brazil more sustainable. At stake are the protection and improvement of the natural environment, social and economic conditions of local farmers, their employees and their communities.
Rural Horizons is helping farmers make their work more sustainable by sharing knowledge, personal tutoring and developing a production plan that is adapted to local circumstances. Farmers can increase their yields through improved crop protection, better working conditions and preventing serious crop diseases.
Annelot van Leeuwen is program manager Fruit & Vegetables at Solidaridad. She says: ‘The cooperation with FrieslandCampina Riedel, a major client, is an incentive for farmers to produce more sustainably. We can make real progress in this way. FrieslandCampina Riedel is an example for other fruit juice producers.’ This joint cooperative approach is also being put into practice in India.
Solidaridad wants to expand the Rural Horizons program to other cooperatives and hopes to reach more than 2,000 Brazilian citrus farmers. Clients will also be involved. Solidaridad and FrieslandCampina Riedel are working with the SIA Platform (an organization for sustainable agriculture; many food industries are members) and the AIJN (the European organization of fruit juice producers), in order to ensure that the entire industry will, eventually, embrace the initiative.
Appelsientje informs consumers about the sustainable cultivation of oranges on the packaging it uses and through a website, which has photos and a video featuring orange growers.
Senior vice president Sustainability, Nutrition & Society at FrieslandCampina