Farmers in Thailand share sustainability solutions with Indonesian experts

The Solidaridad Indonesia team and the Keling Kumang Group (KKG) went on a field visit to the Krabi Oil-Palm Farmers’ Cooperative Federation in Thailand (KOFCF) in March. The purpose of study tour was to learn from the cooperative’s experience in implementing sustainable practices in the Krabi Province of Thailand.

Sharing sustainable solutions

The KOFCF consists of 53 cooperatives. During the trip to the KOFCF, sustainability experts were shown how a decentralized implementation of the RSPO programme and gathering fresh produce through collection centres is possible and more effective. It also generates higher productivity and capacity among the cooperative members. The KOFCF mill has been in operation for 14 years and the successes are expected to be replicated in West Kalimantan.

A consensus has been reached among the Indonesian visitors that having their own mill in Sintang is a viable solution for smallholder independent farmers. “We have to strengthen the smallholder independent farmers. Independent farmers can only be considered truly independent when they have their own mill. This way, they will not have to worry about their produce sales anymore through agents and middlemen and they will enjoy fair and transparent pricing,” said Managing Director of KKG, Yohanez RJ.

The reasons behind selecting the Krabi Province as an example to support CUKK-KKG were:

  1. As a cooperative, the KOFCF is a similar legal entity that established the mill and the biodiesel plant as the alternative clean energy offered from CPO. Both KOFCF and KKG have similar positioning as a federation of cooperatives. As part of KKG, CUKK could learn from the KOFCF on how to help their members implement RSPO principles and requirements, good management systems for distribution channels, strong organizational structure of RSPO committee, as well as internal control and administration processes.

  2. Smallholders tend to be the most vulnerable to international shifts in palm oil prices. CUKK-KKG have a strong commitment to support smallholder farmers in six districts of West Kalimantan area. They expect to replicate the successes of KOFCF in establishing the mill, implementing RSPO certification programme and improving the capacity of smallholder farmers.

About the programme

This activity was part of “Two Goals with One Kernel” (TGOK), a programme supported by The David & Lucile Packard Foundation and Solidaridad Indonesia in collaboration with Serikat Pekerja Kelapa Sawit (SPKS) and KKG in West Kalimantan.

The “Two Goals with One Kernel” programme is an initiative to increase farmers’ capacity through trainings, workshops, and installments of best management practices plots to increase productivity and to prevent further conversion of forest and peatland. By producing more efficiently on existing lands, encroachment into new (forested) areas would be avoided, reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.

The programme seeks to improve productivity of 10,000 hectares of oil palm from approximately 5,000 farmers by 2020. The establishment of a mini-mill in the Sintang has been proposed to support farmers in the programme.

Learn more about Solidaridad's global palm oil programme.