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Growing stevia responsibly

Cargill’s Truvia® natural sweetener takes a forward-thinking approach to stevia production

 

Learn how Cargill connects its expertise in developing responsible supply chains and partnering with cooperatives in taking a forward-thinking approach to stevia production in Argentina.

 

With a multi-year vision in mind, the Truvia® team and grower cooperative, Cooperativa Tabacalera Misiones (CTM) are taking a proactive approach to building a sustainable stevia supply chain with small-scale stevia growers and their communities.

Growing stevia in Misiones, Argentina

Stevia is native to the Misiones, Argentina region. Thanks to the region’s abundant annual rainfall and warm climate, the stevia plants thrive. However, growing stevia in an area of abundant rainfall is challenging due to heavy rains which make the area susceptible to soil erosion and compaction. 

Soil erosion occurs when rainfall exceeds the soil’s ability to absorb water. Rainfall also causes soil compaction, resulting in standing water and the formation of crevices. Over time, the fertility of the land is reduced resulting in decreased crop yields and contributing to water pollution.

Maintaining healthy soil with the use of stepped soil terraces

To ensure that small-scale farmers who grow stevia for Cargill will be able to do so for generations, the Truvia® team is taking a forward-thinking approach to natural resource preservation. 

With the yield and quality of stevia plant production directly dependent on the health of the soil in which it grows, the Truvia® team and farmers called upon a well-known agricultural technique: soil terraces. Soil terraces help prevent soil erosion, creating more arable land on the sloped land.

In the stevia fields of Misiones, stepped soil terraces create channels for excess rainwater to collect and drain away slowly and safely.

 “Healthy soil means robust stevia production that’s sustainable over the long term,” explains Deborah Ross, sustainability manager of the Truvia® business. “We’re helping small-scale farmers to be successful, while also being responsible stewards of the environment in Misiones.”

Ensuring a sustainable stevia supply chain now and into the future

Cargill and CTM are building soil terraces to improve soil conditions on 5 percent of land used for stevia production. With more investment and aid to follow, the Truvia® team has committed to a set of goals to ensure a sustainable stevia enterprise now and into the future.

“We have a responsibility to our growers and their communities as well as our customers and consumers,” says Ross. “Environmental stewardship like soil terracing enables us to deliver on those promises.”

 

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