Today, smallholder farmers are responsible for over 40 percent of the oil palm plantations spread throughout the archipelago. These farmers, on average, manage just 2 hectares of land and they contribute to over a third of the nation’s total palm oil supply. Unlike large multinational companies with unwavering access to capital and resources, smallholder farmers cannot afford the vast investment required to switch to long-term sustainable practices and many are simply unaware of how to productively manage their crop.
The outcome of the smallholder pilot training phase in Pelalawan, Riau, is expected to form a blueprint on how best to scale-up ISPO certification throughout Indonesia’s oil palm producing regions and increase the capacity of the nation’s estimated two million smallholder farmers, many of who struggle to achieve industry average yields.
“This pilot project is a small stepping stone in a much larger effort to achieve sustainable palm oil in Indonesia without cutting small-scale farmers out of the global supply chain. We must build a strong connection between poverty reduction and environment protection and ensure that the poor are included in the vital effort to conserve Indonesia’s enviable biodiversity and ecosystems,” said Christophe Bahuet, UNDP Indonesia Country Director.
“Asian Agri is committed to improving the capacity of independent smallholders, to ensure that sustainable practices directly benefit developing communities. Sustainable plantation practices are now an obligation in the oil palm industry and are expected to go beyond their own supply chains industry players. We hope to identify and reform regulatory barriers through this process so that others in the private sector will follow our lead and partner with the government,” said Freddy Widjaya, Director of Asian Agri.
Results and lessons learned throughout the period of smallholder training and certification, estimated to cost $30,000 USD, will inform the government-led Indonesia Palm Oil Platform (FoKSBI) as it drafts the framework for a National Action Plan for Sustainable Palm Oil set to be finalized and implemented in 2018.
UNDP Sustainable Palm Oil Initiative and FoKSBI Communications Officer