With the support of ALDI SOUTH and ALDI Nord, Solidaridad and the RSPO Smallholder Support Fund worked to pave the way for sustainable palm oil in Côte d’Ivoire. The project, which ran between 2017 and 2021, focused on improving smallholder farmers’ knowledge of Best Environmental Practices and on agriculture, with a special emphasis given to natural forests and High Conservation Values.
Through Farmer Field Schools, around 2,611 palm oil smallholders received training and materials that helped sustain this knowledge throughout the community. Smallholders are a key part of protecting forests, but they face challenges, as noted by project partner ALDI.
In order to restore forest cover in the project area, 17,532 tree seedlings were cultivated in nurseries, distributed to individual farmers and planted in schools, on the borders of sacred forests and restored Natural Reserve areas. This amounts to about 250 hectares of restored forest land. The Inter-Professional Association of the Oil-Palm Industry has embraced the project’s results and is now installing tree nurseries in other palm growing regions.
Despite the many challenges facing the project, like the early hesitations of targeted smallholder farmers, COVID-19 restrictions and political tensions, 90% of community participants, ranging from leaders to the youth, were satisfied with what they learnt from the project and with its positive impacts in the area.