The Farm Sustainability Assessment (FSA) is an international reference for sustainable cultivation that considers economic, social and environmental aspects. The FSA is recognised internationally by more than 125 leading food companies. Growers can complete the FSA questionnaire themselves or demonstrate equivalence via a FSA benchmarked scheme or platform such as the crop optimisation program Optimeel. Avebe had this study conducted by an independent benchmarking consultant, and it shows that growers participating in Optimeel, together with the ABEVE terms of delivery, Dutch legislation and VVC-za; or German Legislation and GLOBALGAP, reach FSA Gold Level Equivalence. The Optimeel programme helps support standards for cultivation and delivery to Avebe.
Optimeel is Avebe’s crop optimisation programme in which potato growers register their growing activities, share their knowledge, and participate in special study groups. Avebe has FSA Silver Level Equivalence for potato starch and potato protein from potatoes not grown under Optimeel.
More than half the growers already participate in the cultivation programme. Michiel Puttman, commercial director at Avebe: “It works both ways. Participating growers see their yields increase and a reduction in the environmental impact. And that helps us sell our products. The fact that sustainable conditions are now demonstrably in place makes it easier for us to negotiate with customers. Customers ask for this, and if we can show that we have this in order, we can change gears faster. That makes all the difference.”
The Farm Sustainability Assessment (Version 2.1) is an assessment based on a survey containing 112 questions about various aspects concerning the cultivation of raw materials for the food industry. It forms part of the Sustainable Agricultural Initiative, the SAI Platform established in early 2000 by Nestle, Unilever and Danone to shape agricultural sustainability to support the goals of growers and processors and is clear to customers and consumers. The starting point is that successful agriculture is vital for a successful food chain.