Working with small farmers in global commodities is challenging but perhaps, there are opportunities to create models for corporate shared values that may have far reaching consequences
Wild Asia’s Director Dr Reza Azmi was invited to present a paper at the recently held IPOSC 2012 International conference. His paper was entitled “A Review of Smallholder Oil Palm Production
Challenges and Opportunities for Enhancing Sustainability. A Malaysian Perspective”. This paper is published in the MPOC Journal of Oil Palm & the Environment.
In the last decade, concern about the negative impacts of large scale agricultural expansion has led to increasing efforts to promote sustainability across a range of agricultural supply chains, including oil palm. Often improvements in sustainability are implemented through the establishment of an international certification system that sets voluntary standards for producers and provides assurances to consumers, such as the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).
Small farmers are a vital part of the global palm oil supply chain. It is estimated that there are 3 million small oil palm farmers worldwide, producing approximately 4 million tonnes of palm oil, around 9% of total global production. In Indonesia and Malaysia, which together produce around 85% of the world’s oil palm, smallholders account for up to 40% of the planted area. However a range of factors, such as limited awareness of new technologies and best practices and lack of financial resources, make it difficult for these small farmers to meet the requirements of the RSPO, placing them at a considerable disadvantage compared to other large-scale producers. As global demand for certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) increases, these small farmers could find themselves excluded from the global CSPO supply chain.
Recently, new models are starting to emerge to help smallholders overcome these challenges. This paper describes the existing structures for smallholder oil palm production, examines their strengths and weaknesses, and explores the developing models that are supporting small farmers to increase production, enhance sustainability, achieve certification and access global markets.
About International Palm Oil Sustainability Conference 2012
In 2008 and 2010, MPOC successfully organized a major international event branded as the International Palm Oil Sustainability Conference (IPOSC) at Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, which was met with positive responses from both local and international industry stakeholders.
Due to the strong interest in this flagship event, the IPOSC 2012 will now be held in Putrajaya, Malaysia and is expected to bring in more participants from across the world to seek updates and new information on the sustainability efforts practiced by the Malaysian palm oil industry. Hence, you would not want to miss this golden opportunity to participate at IPOSC 2012.
The conference will be an excellent opportunity to learn of the latest developments and issues related to creating a sustainable Malaysian palm oil industry. It will also be a good platform for you to interact on a personal basis with industry stakeholders to reinforce your company’s relationship with key industry players.