Certification towards enhanced ecological, social and economic benefits for communities
|Keywords||Community development, sustainable agriculture, coffee, certification, conservation agreement,|
The sustainable agriculture is achieved when ecological, social and economic conditions are taken into consideration in all farming activities, said Dr Sam Kanyamibwa, the Executive Director of the Albertine Rift Conservation Society during the visit to Sholi coffee farmers’ cooperative supported by ARCOS in partnership with Conservation International to carry out sustainable agriculture that benefit the environment and people.
The communities groups are supported through a scheme of Conservation Agreement (CA) where communities commit to implement smart environmental practices and in return, ARCOS provides them with technical and financial support to empower their small scale nature based enterprises. This scheme is being implemented in two landscape in Rwanda namely Muhanga and Nyungwe with three community groups (especially coffee and tea farmers) being supported. It is in this framework that Sholi coffee farmers are being supported to comply with Rain Forest Alliance standards to get their coffee certified.
“If our coffee is certified, we will know an increase in the price and then improvement in our lives as well as the soil, the ecosystems are preserved not only for us but also for our beloved descendants”, said Jean Marie, Chief Executive Officer of POSADA and the trainer of lead farmers trainers.
The farmers understand why is important to carry out the activities that benefit the environment and they are empowered with the capacity to achieve that. The cooperative is supported to solve the problem of water pollution due to the waste water from the coffee washing station. Waste water treatment was built and trees have been planted in this framework. In a conversation with the President of ABATRANINKUNGA BA SHOLI cooperative, she said: "This initiative is very important for the cooperative, as well as for the local community, since it's a tool that will allow us to properly clean the wastewater and to avoid the pollution of the river; therefore, a benefit to the farmers who use this river to irrigate their crops in the cultivable wetland that it crosses".
The sustainable agriculture and the Rain Forest Alliance certificate will position well Sholi coffee farmers at the international markets and prices therefore improving the communities’ wellbeing and the environment.
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