Costa Rican Pineapples Guaranteed Deforestation-Free

Reader Contribution by Undp Green Commodities Programme
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The mass production and growth of pineapples in Costa Rica has put a huge dent in the forests of the country. Deforestation is a growing problem all over the world, with millions of acres of forests being demolished in the name of farming or urban construction projects annually. Costa Rica is one of the largest producers of pineapples, and therefore has been a huge contributor in this environmental problem.

However, now companies looking to buy from Costa Rican pineapple farms can rest assured that their purchases are not contributing to the deforestation problem. With the click of a button, companies can see if their pineapple suppliers are engaged in deforestation or not.

The Land Use Change Monitoring System within Production Landscapes (MOCUPP) is the world’s first overlay satellite with land registry records on an annual basis for an entire territory. So now, every year, companies can go online and see for themselves if a pineapple farm is contributing to illegal deforestation, and can boycott the companies who are. This new tool is free for commodity buyers to use, which allows companies to check a farm’s internal records for themselves.

Company buyers are not the only ones who are able to benefit from this system; MOCUPP allows pineapple farmers to show companies that their farms are guaranteed deforestation-free, which qualifies them to benefit from incentive schemes such as the Payment of Ecosystem Services by the National Forestry Financing Fund.

MOCUPP has already shown the rapid growth of deforestation in Costa Rica due to the growing demands for pineapple farms, collecting satellite images that show that the country has lost more than 5,000 hectares of forest cover from 2000 to 2015, which amounts to over 3,000 football fields of land.

While for now this system is solely focused on monitoring pineapple farms and their ties to deforestation, developers are working on expanding the system in the future to monitor other agro-commodities, such as pasture and palm oil plantations. The goal is to have all of Costa Rica’s major commodities monitored on an annual basis by MOCUPP by 2020.

This project has captured interest from other governments, such as Paraguay, Madagascar, Morocco, and Côte d’Ivoire, which have all recently faced their own problems with deforestation, and are looking for ways to slow down or stop the process altogether. The UNDP Green Commodities Programme has already begun working with these countries to replicate the MOCUPP system.


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