Quenching the thirst for sustainable juice production

Yesterday, Solidaridad and FrieslandCampina Riedel BV launched a four year, joint programme to improve sustainable fruit growing around the globe. From 2014-2018, we will cooperate to boost farmer resilience and sustainability across seven countries in orange, mango, banana, and passion fruit production that is used for FrieslandCampina Riedel’s juice brands Appelsientje and CoolBest.

Why juice, why now?

Solidaridad and FrieslandCampina have been partnering together on various projects since 2006. This week we have launched our joint juice-related programme. Why? The country analysis we made, concludes there are many sustainability issues to be solved in fruit growing and processing. If nothing happens, the long term viability of the sector is at stake. As this partnership develops, both parties will continue their ongoing dialogues and cooperation with other companies in the sector and with donors that can broaden the scope and impact of the programme.

Marjan Skotnicki-Hoogland, director of FrieslandCampina Riedel BV reflects that: “Achieving a sustainable outcome requires a sector-wide approach and cooperation with other partners in the supply chain.” In this way of working, we hope to open up the fruit juice supply chain and encourage others in the sector to follow suit. 

Addressing diverse realities with tailor-made solutions

The primary objective of this programme is helping farmers become resilient; to ensure productive and healthy outcomes for the planet, profits, and people – from the producers to processors and retailers, and all the way to consumers. Unlike some agro-commodities, tropical fruit producing activities vary widely: from large-scale banana and orange plantations in Ecuador and Brazil to smallholder mango and passion fruit farmers in India and Ecuador. Because the sector is so diverse, there is no one solution that we can apply to the selected fruit growing countries: Brazil, India, Ecuador, South Africa, Peru, Mexico and Belize.

Jeroen Kroezen, Solidaridad’s International Programme Manager for Fruits & Vegetables remarks on the diversity of issues to be tackled: “Fruit farmers cope with many issues in labour rights, pesticide use, erosion, loss of biodiversity and water stress. In many countries fruit for the juice industry is produced by unorganized small farmers that lack access to knowledge, inputs and credit. All this can lead to serious supply issues for the global fruit juice sector.”

Recognizing the complexity of these issues in each locality, we have opted for a tailor-made approach which is evidenced by scope, methodologies, and focus of our first projects to be launched in Brazil and India. In Brazil, together we will support orange growers as a part of Solidaridad’s Rural Horizon programme. In this project, we work closely together with AIJN, the European Fruit Juice Association, and the SAI Platform, which is the global food industry’s sustainable agriculture initiative.

In the Indian mango sector, a project has begun to improve contracting and labour conditions of seasonal workers in the processing industry. In the next few years, both Solidaridad and FrieslandCampina Riedel aim to learn from these first projects and expand into other key fruit growing countries.

Fruit growing for Appelsientje and CoolBest is becoming more sustainable from Solidaridad Network