Good agricultural practices gain traction in Colombia

In May, after in-depth work in understanding and implementing sustainable practices, and thanks to the commitment of the Farmer Support Programme (FSP), Indupalma became the second RSPO-certified company in Colombia, after Daabon. This achievement has motivated other companies from the palm oil sector to continue supporting Colombia in becoming a leader for sustainable agriculture.

According to Gerardo Bohórquez, Communications Manager for Indupalma, the RSPO certification has encouraged them to re-evaluate all of their environmental practices. “The RSPO certification has strengthened the good practices that we are already implementing and has taught us about many other things,” he said.

In the same way, Juan Carlos Jaramillo, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager for Indupalma, stated that the programme helped the company to focus their efforts. “The standard has showed us a path that in a way we were already undertaking. Thanks to methodology used, it has helped us to focus our efforts on specific interest groups,” he added.

Inspiring the Colombian palm oil sector

Indupalma’s RSPO certification has served as an example for the other four palm oil companies that belong to the Farmer Support Programme in pursuing their goal to be socially, economically and environmentally responsible. Most of them are getting ready for the final audit so they can receive their certification by the end of 2015.

Solidariad Andes is truly engaged and committed to the implementation of sustainable practices in the palm oil sector. Last April, Solidariad sponsored and supported a five-day training on the RSPO standard with David Ogg, an influential RSPO auditor and trainer with more than 14 years of experience on this standard. The purpose of the event was to give participants a broad understanding of the RSPO 8 principles (PDF) for Colombian and Latin American palm oil companies that want to implement them.

Ogg strongly believes that RSPO certification is 90% good agricultural practices. “With the implementation of good agricultural practices Colombian companies are not only going to be certified, but more efficient and profitable. I strongly believe that”, Ogg remarked. 

In this way, the FSP in Colombia has achieved an important goal for the sector and has created collaboration for establishing sustainable palm oil production in the country.

Setting up sustainable support in South America

The Farmer Support Programme in Colombia is an initiative managed by Solidaridad and funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Johnson & Johnson and the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) that seeks to support five companies amongst the largest suppliers of palm oil of this country in implementing the RSPO standard. The companies that belong to the FSP project are Aceites S.A, Hacienda la Cabaña, Indupalma, Manuelita Aceites y Energía S.A. and Palmaceite S.A.

Colombia is the leading palm oil producer country in Latin America. Thanks to the FSP, about 17% of the total planted area in the country will have RSPO certification by 2016. This will also benefit the quality of life of more than 500 smallholders and around 7,000 workers in the palm oil sector.

To learn more about the FSP programme in Colombia, visit the Plataforma Comercio Sostenible’s Youtube channel.