With the Netherlands being the second highest importer of soybean in the world, mainly as animal feed, companies have taken it upon themselves to drive the responsibility of promoting long-term social and environment friendly practices of soybean production.
The Dutch Cheesemaker, CONO, dairy cooperative, Friesland Campina and Solidaridad, a global network organization for sustainable production and fair-trade, is undertaking a visit to soy producers in India to celebrate the first global certification of Roundtable on Responsible Soy (RTRS) in the country.
The Dutch Cheesemakers, Cono will this week, together with a Dutch feed manufacturer inspect soy projects in India, including Solidaridad project villages to see firsthand how the funds invested by these companies for responsible soy production (together with Friesland Campina – the largest dairy cooperative in The Netherlands) is being used on the ground.
Cono is one of the frontrunner Dutch companies to invest in the sustainability of products for livestock feed. The 500 farmers of the dairy cooperative strive to make a real contribution to sustainable production for concentrate. Over the last couple of years Friesland Campina have supported soy farm programmes in Brazil and India. Since May 2009 Cono, Cheesemakers participated in the Soy Producer Support Initiative (SOYPSI), an international program for environmentally friendly soy cultivation. Soybean growers get help with investment in sustainable cultivation practices and the certification process.
Frank van Ooijen, Corporate Social Responsibility Director of Friesland Campina, says: “Friesland Campina has since 2009 supported initiatives towards sustainable and more responsible soy production. Farmers earn a fair price and the environment is protected and that brings a great deal of satisfaction to us.”
Since the introduction of the first “Responsible Soybean” about four years ago in the north-eastern part of Madhya Pradesh in the central state of India, by Solidaridad and its implementing partners, RTRS and Action for Social Advancement (ASA), a non-profit organization which works for the improvement of rural livelihoods in India, many smallholder farmers enjoyed improved production, with 10 000 farmers producing 16 000 tons of responsible soy.
Gert van der Bijl, International Programme Coordinator for Soy at Solidaridad, emphasized that "a lot of work is still waiting” for stakeholders. “Responsible soy is here to stay. We hope that companies in India and Europe will work together with Solidaridad for increased sustainable soy production.”
Solidardidad, is an international network organisation with more than 25 years of experience in creating fair and sustainable supply chains from producer to consumer.
The Round Table on Responsible Soy Association (RTRS), created in Switzerland in 2006, is an international organization whose aim is the responsible soy production, processing and trade throughout the world. It brings together producers, industry, trade and banking representatives, NGOs and governments concerned about the impact soy has on the economy and the environment. The RTRS currently has around 150 members from all over the world.