Rainforest Alliance

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Rainforest Alliance

Postby rgifford » Wed Mar 07, 2018 2:18 am

I know Steve's view on Fairtrade, that direct relationships are better, and I have no reason to doubt that being correct so far as income for the farmer is concerned.

What about Rainforest Alliance, which is about the environmental impact of the farming method rather than earning for the farmer. I haven't heard it mentioned at all so assume that none of the Has Bean farms are Rainforest Alliance Certified. Does it matter? Why are none of them certified (presuming that they aren't of course)?
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Re: Rainforest Alliance

Postby Steve » Thu Mar 08, 2018 10:58 am

Hi Roland

Sorry for my slow reply, been traveling in Romania of all places

The Rainforest question is a hard one, so having a day to think about it (and 2 flights) helped

So rainforest is now also joined up with Utz thats another certification recently because they are both having trouble maintaining themselves.

The problem with these certifications is that they cost money. I remember a conversation with Ale from Finca Argentina who used to be rainforest certified until 2008. He said was that the regulations got a little crazy. An example he told me about was that he had to spend $1500 on signs to show what each building and area was on the farm and then complete a map and submit for approval.

This was just one of the hoops they had him jumping through. the things he thought he was signing up for became not so important and the little bit that could easily be measured became everything. The cost of maintaining the certification year on year became more, and the changes also became more.

Now its one perspective and one experience, but chats with others it seems that its useful if your a big farm, and want to sell to Mcdonalds or Nestle, as its helps with your poorer quality to find a route, but with the speciality guys, I never ever see them wanting to do this. Mainly because they are smaller and don't have the quantities of the lower grade stuff.

But its made me think it might be nice to find out more why, and I will ask on my travels and update here
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Re: Rainforest Alliance

Postby rgifford » Mon Mar 12, 2018 6:09 pm

Thanks for that.

We stayed on a Rainforest Alliance farm when we visited Nicaragua. That was speciality coffee (sold to the US) and he also told us the some of the rules are daft and rules for rules sake.

The example he quoted was that coffee trees aren't allowed to be directly next to a building. There has to be some other plant to act as a buffer between the two. The plant didn't need to be native, and wasn't on this particular farm but the native Hummingbirds loved it, there just needed to be some other plant.

I would like to see something to indicate that farming methods try to keep environmental damage to a minimum. I used to think that forest grow was good till I learnt that the value of forest is the undergrowth protected by the trees rather than the trees themselves. Shade grown is another that sounds good till you find out that it just means bananas are planted as well to provide shade.
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