An "impressive" water conservation program, worker support and wildlife protection are key factors that helped a Peruvian pomegranate farm become the first of its kind in Latin America to gain Rainforest Alliance certification.
A release from the NGO said the farm Fundo Teresita, owned by Agroinversiones Valle y Pampa Perú S.A., is the second pomegranate farm in the world to meet the comprehensive standards of the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN).
"We are proud to have supported Agroinversiones Valle y Pampa Perú S.A. on the path to certification," said Hebert Flores, agriculture services associate for the Rainforest Alliance in South America.
"This achievement has had a significant positive impact on neighboring communities, generating a valuable source of employment, enabling locals to voice their concerns and providing programs that support worker welfare."
The release highlighted the farm implemented a high-efficiency irrigation system, which is of particular importance given the local desert environment, enabling Fundo Teresita to conserve "unprecedented levels of water, fertilizer and energy".
Last year the company won an award from the Sustainable Water Industry Group, recognizing its pioneering technology.
"Achieving the Rainforest Alliance Certified™ seal validates our commitment to sustainable agriculture in Peru and broadcasts this achievement to the world using a common language," said Agroinversiones Valle y Pampa Perú S.A. general manager Miguel Bentin.
"We are honored to now be a part of a global network that prioritizes social and environmental responsibility in its business efforts, thus helping to conserve our planet for future generations."
The farm uses 51 of its 3,929 acres (1,590 hectares) for pomegranate production, and aims to protect wildlife by creating and conserving natural habitat.
The Rainforest Alliance release added the farm was also committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing its ability to store carbon through the efficient and responsible use of fertilizers and the cultivation of woody species like pomegranate trees.
The release also highlighted Fundo Teresita promotes worker well-being by employing workers from the local community and ensuring farm families have access to medical care and transportation between the various towns and the farm itself.
"Our long-term objective is to become the most efficient and environmentally responsible farm in our industry and to be recognized as a world leader, both for the quality of our products as well as our corporate ethics," Bentin adds.
"The next challenge is to earn the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal for our asparagus and blueberries; something we aim to accomplish in the near future."
The farm exports its RubyQueen-branded pomegranates to Belgium Canada, Cyprus, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Singapore, the Netherlands, Russia, the U.K. and the Middle East.