Cargill, Solidaridad and Wild Asia embark on sustainability of independent smallholders palm oil

Solidaridad will together with trader Cargill and Malaysian-based social enterprise Wild Asia start an independent oil palm smallholder sustainability support programme in Malaysia. The three-year programme will provide technical assistance, training and capacity-building to over 2,500 independent oil palm smallholders, with the goal to produce sustainable palm oil.

Higher yields, increase income

It is one of the first programmes in Malaysia that is focused on sustainable palm oil production through partnerships with independent smallholders, palm oil dealers, mills and refiners. The goal is to help smallholders employ sustainable palm oil production practices, to bring about higher oil palm fruit yields and increase farmer incomes.

Solidaridad is pleased with the launch of the  programme as it will ensure the inclusion of the independent smallholders in the Cargill supply chain and eventually their certification in accordance with the criteria of the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil, RSPO.

Inclusion of independent smallholders

The  inclusion of independent smallholders in the supply chains is an important aspect of the Solidaridad Palm Oil Programme.  The livelihoods of thousands of farmers are expected to be  improved  through the programme, but  above all to prevent their exclusion from supply chains of certified sustainable palm oil that are now being set up within the industry.
Piers Gillespie, Asia Pacific manager for Solidaridad explains; “This programme is unique as it demonstrates the strength of collaboration when the stakeholders from the palm oil supply chain, work together to produce and use sustainably produced palm oil.”

Working towards a certified supply chain

The programme is in line with the government’s efforts to help smallholders and independent millers meet sustainable palm oil production standards in Malaysia. Smallholders in the state of Perak will receive direct training and support on best agricultural practices and improved farm management practices covering key areas of health and safety, and environmental and social impact management.

“Smallholders who are constrained by resources need the right training and support to learn how to increase their productivity and become sustainable. In addition, we also want to leverage all stages of the oil palm  supply chain towards sustainable palm oil production – from independent smallholders, dealers and mills, to refiners and finally to the end-users,” said Chai Wei Joo , managing director, Cargill Palm Products.

“The ultimate success of the three year programme will be a complete supply chain that adopts sustainable practices and increased production of palm oil certified by the Round Table of Sustainable Palm Oil.”

Solidaridad and Palm Oil

The Solidaridad Palm Oil programme consist of eight projects in most palm oil production regions, all centered around creating more inclusive and more sustainable palm oil supply chains. Experiences gained in projects are disseminated in policy dialogues. For example Solidaridad tries to make the RSPO standards more accessible for smallholders.

In Malaysia, there are around 177,000 independent oil palm smallholders with a total planted area of 692,000 hectares (14 percent of Malaysia’s total oil palm planted area in 2012). These smallholders play a significant role in the rural development and economic progress of the country.