Atlas Foods (Pvt) Ltd, situated in the heart of Punjab, Pakistan, has been committed to delivering high-quality rice since its inception in 2006. As an ISO 22000:2018 certified, BSCI, SRP-Verified, Fairtrade, USDA Organic, and EU Organic recognized organization, Atlas Foods has been unwavering in its pursuit of sustainability. In this exclusive interview, Samee Ullah Naeem, the Chief Executive Officer of Atlas Foods, shares insights into the company’s mission, their journey with sustainability, and their fruitful association with the Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP).
- The Company’s Mission and Sustainability Commitment:
Atlas Foods, headquartered in the rice-rich region of Punjab, has established itself as a professional food group dedicated to providing high-quality rice products while upholding swift services and unwavering commitment. They pride themselves on delivering rice that adheres to the strictest regulatory requirements and meets consumers’ satisfaction in terms of length, wholesomeness, nutrition, and safety. Sustainability is at the core of Atlas Foods’ mission for several compelling reasons:
a. Environmental Sustainability:
Atlas Foods aligns with SRP’s mission to minimize the environmental footprint of rice production. They champion practices such as water-efficient irrigation, reduced chemical inputs, and climate-smart agriculture to conserve natural resources, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and protect biodiversity.
b. Social Responsibility:
Through sustainable practices, Atlas Foods uplifts the livelihoods of rice farmers, supporting local communities by enhancing income and opportunities. This commitment contributes to poverty alleviation, rural development, and social equity while promoting fair wages and safe working conditions.
c. Market Differentiation:
Atlas Foods positions itself as a leader in sustainable agriculture by adopting the SRP Standard, catering to the growing demand for sustainable products. This approach not only attracts environmentally-conscious consumers but also opens doors to premium markets.
d. Long-Term Viability:
Recognizing the importance of securing the future of rice production, Atlas Foods invests in sustainable practices that enhance soil health, reduce water usage, and promote biodiversity, ensuring resource availability for future generations.
e. Meeting Stakeholder Expectations:
Atlas Foods fulfills customer, investor, and stakeholder expectations by embracing SRP, fostering trust, and enhancing its reputation as a responsible player in the rice industry.
- Experience as an SRP Member:
Atlas Foods joined SRP in 2019, marking a pivotal step in their sustainability journey. As an SRP member, Atlas Foods gained access to invaluable resources, knowledge, and best practices in sustainable rice production. Collaborating with stakeholders, including farmers, they have actively promoted sustainable practices, benefiting the environment and society while strengthening their market position.
- Opportunities as an SRP Member:
Being part of SRP membership has presented numerous opportunities for Atlas Foods and its value chain stakeholders:
a. Access to Knowledge and Best Practices:
Atlas Foods leverages SRP membership to access knowledge, research findings, and best practices, enhancing sustainability throughout their value chain.
b. Collaboration and Partnerships:
SRP facilitates collaboration among various stakeholders, enabling Atlas Foods to work closely with partners to develop and implement sustainable practices.
c. Market Recognition and Access:
Atlas Foods gains a competitive edge through SRP verification, attracting environmentally-conscious buyers and expanding their customer base.
d. Supply Chain Transparency and Traceability:
SRP encourages transparency, aiding Atlas Foods in ensuring the traceability and sustainability of their rice production.
e. Capacity Building and Farmer Empowerment:
Atlas Foods participates in training programs to educate and empower farmers in sustainable practices, benefiting the entire value chain.
f. Influence and Policy Advocacy:
As an SRP member, Atlas Foods contributes to the development of sustainable rice production standards and guidelines, influencing industry policies.
- Initiatives and Projects Related to SRP:
Atlas Foods actively implements the SRP Standard by assisting farmers with laser leveling, providing certified seeds and AWD tubes, and offering farm advisory services. These initiatives enhance yields, conserve resources, and promote sustainable agriculture.
- Challenges in Implementing SRP:
Atlas Foods faced challenges during SRP implementation, including farmer engagement, resource access, knowledge transfer, verification, market pricing, and scaling up. Overcoming these hurdles required dedication, education, investment, and effective stakeholder engagement.
- Vision for the Future:
Atlas Foods envisions becoming a global leader in sustainable rice production by 2025. They aim to inspire the industry, foster transparency, and promote sustainability from farm to plate.
- Encouragement for Companies to Join SRP:
Atlas Foods encourages more companies and industry actors to join SRP, emphasizing the credibility, knowledge, collaboration, market recognition, and international reputation it offers.
In conclusion, Atlas Foods exemplifies a commitment to sustainability that extends from their rice fields to global markets. Their partnership with SRP is a testament to their dedication to a greener, more inclusive, and sustainable future for the rice sector.