CABI and the Rainforest Alliance pledge working towards more sustainable agriculture

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24 November 2021, Africa: CABI and the Rainforest Alliance have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate on ways to help smallholder farmers around the world grow safer and higher quality food – and increase their incomes in the process – through more sustainable agricultural practices.

With this partnership, producers will benefit from the exchange between knowledge and practice that the two strategic partners will bring towards reducing the impact of high-risk plant protection products (chemical pesticides) in production in favour of safer-to-use and sustainable biological controls.

Other elements of shared working, as outlined in the MoU, include creating training and digital learning products to support capacity building of agricultural service providers and supporting farmers to comply with voluntary crop production standards to deliver safer, environmentally friendly produce to higher value markets.

Dr Juliana Jaramillo, Lead Regenerative Agriculture, at the Rainforest Alliance, said, “With this partnership, we are certain we can advance our Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach more effectively and provide concrete tools for producers to start making the transition to a more regenerative agriculture, by combining the broad reach of our network and our field experience, with CABI’s extensive knowledge base.”

For example, the Rainforest Alliance joins Nespresso and Applied Insect Science (APIS) in sponsoring the CABI BioProtection Portal. This free web-based tool enables growers and agricultural advisors to discover information about registered biocontrol and biopesticide products available globally. Their sponsorship will see them adding their expertise in helping frontline communities build thriving rural economies rooted in more sustainable growing practices and forest stewardship.

Dr Ulrich Kuhlmann, Executive Director, Global Operations at CABI said, “CABI is delighted to be working in partnership with the Rainforest Alliance. Our shared expertise in promoting sustainable agricultural practices along the food value chain will further help to improve rural livelihoods for millions of smallholder farmers around the world.

“Our joint endeavours will be carried out while being mindful of the need to protect the earth’s biodiversity and ecosystems amid the myriad of challenges posed by climate change.”

One example of CABI’s work to help promote more environmentally friendly pest control to tackle crop-destroying locusts and grasshoppers in Africa. In Somalia, for instance, the FAO organised spraying of CABI-created biological control product Green Muscle over more than 100,000 hectares; no chemical pesticides were used.

The Rainforest Alliance, in turn has provided training workshops to more than 100,000 farmers in South Asia aimed at them adopting sustainable agricultural methods and improving farm management, with advice and guidance on manual and natural pest control techniques. This not only serves to reduce the use of expensive and harsh agrochemicals but lead to healthier soils and better yields over the long term.

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