With more than 3 million smallholders earning a living from oil palm cultivation globally and smallholder production representing roughly 40% of the total oil palm plantation area in Malaysia and Indonesia alone, we recognise that smallholders have a critical role to play in making sustainable palm oil the norm.
For this reason, RSPO has invested in smallholders in a variety of ways to help improve their livelihoods, assist with the production of sustainable palm oil, and build capacity with partner organisations that support smallholders.
As we work with our members towards achieving RSPO’s vision and mission through our Theory of Change, we have identified that smallholders, and especially independent smallholders, often have additional challenges that require our collective support. We have heard their concerns and requests for further support, and are more committed than ever to helping them achieve sustainable goals.
Therefore, through the RSPO Smallholder Strategy and the new Independent Smallholder Standard, RSPO is providing a simplified approach to certification which has been specifically designed to meet the needs of independent smallholders while also providing immediate financial incentives. We hope this new standard helps to greatly increase the total number of smallholders in the RSPO system, while ensuring we create a space where palm oil agriculture and the environment can co-exist.
The RSPO Smallholder Training Academy is a central building block which has been developed to improve knowledge and understanding of sustainable agricultural practices, as well as social and environmental performance, and financial and leadership practices. The Academy offers access to training, knowledge dissemination, and capacity building for both smallholders and the key stakeholders supporting them. We urge all our partners to join in one or more of the Smallholder Trainer Academy’s Master Training programmes to utilise and adapt the various training guides to suit your targeted smallholder audience.
We realise that the path ahead will be long and challenging but I am excited to be able to count on you in our shared journey towards empowering smallholders to contribute to and benefit from inclusive growth, and more resilient and healthy communities and landscapes.
RSPO Chief Executive Officer