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Demand Rises For Rainforest Alliance Coffee And Other Crops

By Jean Guerrero Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES Global demand for certified coffee continues to rise, evidenced by a 13% on year increase in Rainforest Alliance certified coffee sales last year, Alex Morgan, the certifier's senior manager of sustainable agriculture, said Tuesday. The sales jump was driven by new and ongoing commitments from major coffee buyers, including Kraft (KFT), Nescafe (NSRGY) and Massimo Zanetti. Last year, 129,864 metric tons of coffee beans were sold with the label. "This growth represents a vital opportunity to transform the coffee industry into a more sustainable model," he said. Other certified crops also saw an increase. Around 3% of the world's coffee, and a similar percentage of its cocoa is certified by Rainforest Alliance, according to the certifier. Certified tea output represents 9% of global tea production. Overall production of Rainforest Alliance certified coffee rose 20% on the year to 245,000 metric tons. Certified cocoa output jumped 75% to 98,000 metric tons, as new chocolate companies such as Mars' Dove partnered with the label. Last year, 500 new companies signed up to buy or sell Rainforest Alliance certified products, bringing the total to nearly 3,000. Crops must meet a list of environmental, social and economic requirements in order to obtain a Rainforest Alliance certification. -By Jean Guerrero, Dow Jones Newswires; (5255) 5980-5180, jean.guerrero@dowjones.com

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