Cattle farm in Costa Rica achieve Rainforest Alliance certification

Publication date: 03/19/2014

The Commercial Farm of CATIE (Tropical Agricultural Center for Research and Education in spanish), scored the Rainforest Alliance certification and this became the first livestock in Costa Rica to get this recognized seal. To do this, the farm must meet the rigorous standards that promote the humane treatment of livestock, conservation of natural resources and the rights and welfare of workers, developed by the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN).

"This first Rainforest Alliance certification in livestock is very important for Costa Rica because it will be an example for farmers in the country know that they do have alternatives to minimize the problems associated with their activities, such as deforestation, emission of greenhouse gases and improper treatment of animals," said Ana Lucia Corrales, Rainforest Alliance agricultural certification manager.

The SAN Standards apply only to cattle pastures and cover issues such as land management and waste treatment, also infrastructure and animal transportation. Farms that aspire to the Rainforest Alliance certification must meet that standard and properly dispose of waste, prevent attacks on livestock by any wild feline, protect natural waterways and ensure animal welfare.

"This first Rainforest Alliance certification in livestock is very important for Costa Rica because it will be an example for farmers in the country know that they do have alternatives to minimize the problems associated with their activities, such as deforestation, emission of greenhouse gases and improper treatment of animals," said Ana Lucia Corrales, Rainforest Alliance agricultural certification manager.

" For the CATIE, obtaining Rainforest Alliance certification represents an important recognition. The most valuable thing about this is that our dairy actually works as a commercial farm, where environmental sustainability practices must be balanced against the profitability of operations. From now on this farm will become a resource for training and education that will allow us to demonstrate that it is possible to produce and keep producing preserving" said José Joaquín Campos, director general of CATIE.

The CATIE Commercial Farm spans over 603 hectares devoted to forestry, sugar cane, coffee and pasture for beef and dairy. The area devoted to livestock corresponds to 164.92 ha, which are module beef cattle and a module specialized on dairy. The herd is 324 heads, of which 123 are cows fo dairy production.

From the environmental point of view , the property includes strips of forest protection areas bordering coffee sections and a creek. They have initiated the development of inventories of biodiversity (birds and mammals), which highlights species like "Lontra longicaudis", which is listed as endangered due to habitat loss caused by human pollution.

One aspect that contributed to the achievement of the Rainforest Alliance certification was the finding that workers have all the benefits granted by national legislation and those residing in the property, have good housing , electricity and potable water.

"Get the Rainforest Alliance certification was made possible by the integration and assembly work of Commercial Farm, Livestock Program and Environmental Management (GAMMA) and CATIE's Institutional Social Responsibility program. Besides enriching our management, this certification allows us to position ourselves as a leader in sustainable livestock issues. The fact we do have a work will help us to incorporate new practices to be increasingly efficient from a financial, environmental and social perspective livestock models," concluded Oscar Sanabria , Director of Administration and Finance of CATIE.

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