Ruchi Soya Industries will embark on a sustainable verification programme to take advantage of European preferences that it says moving towards the sustainable production of agricultural products.
“We have been working closely with Indian famers over the past three decades, and now is the right time to take the lead in developing the country’s first long-term sustainability programme,” said the company’s head of food and speciality products, Sarvesh Shahra.
The programme will initially buy 12,000 Round Table on Responsible Soy credits, followed soon afterwards with the purchase of 12,000 tonnes of certified beans. Together, these will be distributed to over 10,000 certified farmers, who are members of Rushi’s sustainability programme, and an additional 20,000 farmers in the process of improving their practices with an eye to certification.
Rushi’s aim is to gradually increase the sale of certified non-GMO lecithin and soya meal under the programme. Meanwhile, Solidaridad, which develops sustainable training for farmers around the world, will increase its programmes to include 70,000 Indian farmers over the next two to three years.
Farmer certification and verification will be carried out under the ProTerra Standard by Cert ID, whose European wing has been in the Indian non-GMO market for over 10 years. Ruchi’s exclusive marketing company, RF Solutions, will be responsible for promoting the initiative.
“The European Union is a key and priority market for non-GM soy products. We will now provide customers the right solutions for sustainability and meet all the future demands from India,” said Shahra, adding that the initiative will help “brighten the lives” of millions of farmers across India while improving their livelihoods.”
The cost of buying the soya beans in India and for developing the sustainability programme will be paid for by stakeholders in the programme through the sale of products under Chain of Custody Certificates in Europe.
This will enable Ruchi Soya to buy the beans physically from the farmers who are participating in the programme, but most importantly, contribute to improving their livelihood and well being.