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RSPO smallholder pilot in Indonesia a success

RSPO smallholder pilot in Indonesia a success
The partnership between RSPO and the Indonesian government to strengthen smallholder inclusion (photo courtesy RSPO).

In Indonesia, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), in collaboration with the Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture and the Provincial Government of Jambi has successfully registered 1,340 smallholder farmers in three RSPO pilot districts in Jambi Province – Tanjung Jabung Barat, Sarolangun, and Tebo. This initiative is in line with the national efforts to register 2.5 million smallholders in Indonesia under the national dashboard, to achieve large-scale smallholder inclusion.

The registration of a large number of smallholders is part of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) action plan between RSPO and the Government of Jambi, which lays the groundwork to strengthen smallholders in these three pilot districts to meet both ISPO and RSPO Standards simultaneously.

This is the first project that connects 3 districts to achieve our target of accelerating the implementation of sustainable palm oil management,” “It’s designed to expand the involvement of independent smallholders as the main beneficiaries and the involvement of stakeholders –  the relevant government at the district-provincial level and the company as a supporter of independent smallholders – leading to the improved capacity and welfare of smallholders, said Agusrizal, Head of Plantation Department, Jambi.

Smallholder socialization

Upon marking the milestone achievement during the focus group discussion in Jambi on June 6, 2024, the RSPO team in Indonesia journeyed to the Tebo district, a seven-hour drive from Jambi’s capital, where the team conducted socialization activities with smallholders and their group managers, in collaboration with RSPO partner, SETARA Jambi.

Smallholder group during RSPO socialization activity in Tebo District (photo courtesy RSPO).

During the socialization activity, significant key learnings emerged: farmers currently have better capacity such as being able to map their land and knowing clear land boundaries.

Independent smallholders are also able to apply best agriculture practices training to increase oil palm productivity.

Additionally, the village government also provides substantial support through facilities and infrastructure that can be used by organizations.

Farmers who have obtained the cultivation registration certificate can enjoy several benefits from the government, such as accessing funds for oil palm replanting, infrastructure assistance (fertilizers, herbicides, etc.), and assistance in improving their plantations.

In the Sarolangun District, farmer groups also receive employment insurance assistance covered by the Sarolangun District Revenue Sharing Fund.

Including smallholders in the sustainable palm oil value chain remains one of the chief priorities and challenges for RSPO, which is why registering such a large number of smallholders represents an exceptional achievement. This initiative also strengthens the existing partnership between RSPO and the Indonesian Government in supporting smallholders, highlighting the importance of collaboration at all levels if we wish to achieve shared sustainability goals, said Guntur Cahyo Prabowo, RSPO Head of Smallholders.

Looking ahead, the smallholders in the three pilot districts in Jambi will serve as an example for independent smallholder groups in other regions to accelerate the implementation of the National Standard for Sustainable Palm Oil Certification on a jurisdictional scale.

Additionally, the encouraging results of this project support the achievement of the fifth component of Indonesia’s National Action Plan for Sustainable Palm Oil.

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