Sustainable soy from India gets major boost from lead company

Indian soy giant Ruchi Soya Industries and European daughter company RF Solutions teamed up with ProTerra Foundation and Solidaridad to support and increase sustainably produced soy in India. With the EU being the main buyer of non-GMO soybeans and sustainably produced derivatives such as lecithin and soya meal, RF Solutions has encountered increased market demands for sustainable soy from India first-hand.

The market shift towards sustainability and demands for sustainably produced agricultural products has created the momentum for a long-term sustainability programme for Ruchi Soya Industries. In the 2013 edition of the Food Ingredients Europe, Ruchi Soya Industries announced its platform for the Sustainability Verification Programme.

With a proven track record on sustainability programmes in Brazil, Canada and France, The ProTerra Foundation and is a valuable partner of the validation programme. Solidaridad in its turn has been working for many years in assisting farmers with sustainable practices and has been developing farmer programmes in India for about 5 years.

“Four years of work of Solidaridad with local organizations and soy farmers has shown that responsible soy production in India is possible. And those smallholder farmers in India can increase yields by using good practices with as much as 50 percent. We are glad that Ruchi Soya is starting to support these farmers and giving them access to markets. We think this is an important step towards sustainable supply chains and hope that other companies will follow,” says Gert van der Bijl, International Programme Coordinator Soy Solidaridad.

Certification of farmers in the programme

The programme’s starting point is the purchase of 12,000 Roundtable for Responsible Soy (RTRS) credits followed in the near future by the purchase of 12,000 MT of certified beans. This will help over 10,000 certified farmers in the programme and additional 20,000 farmers who are improving their practices to become certified. The sale of certified non-GMO lecithin and soya meal shall gradually increase in the coming years under the programme. Solidaridad plans to increase the farmer training programme to reach 70,000 farmers in the coming 2-3 years.

The certification of groups of farmers and the verification work under the ProTerra Standard will be carried out by Cert ID, a company that has been in the India non-GMO market for over 10 years. The values estimated for buying the soya beans in India and for fostering the sustainability programme will be acquired and paid to the stakeholders in the programme through the sale of products under Chain of Custody Certificates in Europe. This will enable Ruchi Soya Industries to buy the beans physically from the farmers who are integrated in the programme, but most importantly, contribute to improving the livelihood of many thousands of farmers.

Since 2009, RF Solutions is the exclusive European daughter company of Ruchi Soya Industries who started to gradually marketing the sustainable lecithin and meal in the European market.