Helping Small Farmers in Borneo – Keresa Smallholder Group Scheme

Sustainable palm oil production is not just a concern amongst multinational companies but extends to small plantation businesses (5,000-10,000 ha) and smallholders (less than 50 ha) as well. At present, there is a lack of working models to assist smaller businesses in understanding and implementing RSPO criteria for their plantations.

With that in mind, Wild Asia is partnering with Keresa Plantations to develop a pilot project, starting with neighbouring smallholders in Bintulu, Sarawak. This project has also gained support of POPSI, an International initiative to support smallholders in a wide range of markets around the world.

What we hope to achieve

With the successful implementation of the project, we can expect the following:

  1. Local producers within the pilot area educated and prepared for sustainable RSPO- compatible production.
  2. Local capacity within the pilot area built up to introduce sustainable RSPO production tools.
  3. Increased areas of production of RSPO sustainable palm oil through certification of smallholders and/or small plantation businesses.
  4. Self-financing support model for sustainable production created. Locally adapted training material and trainers developed from the pilot site.
  5. Increased awareness and possibility of model adopted by other RSPO Mills outside of the pilot area (Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand).

How will we achieve that?

A team will be established within Keresa Plantations and will provide practical and technical inputs at workshops and training sessions. The concept of sustainable palm oil will also be socialised-at-large amongst the various smallholders through regular dialogs and activities. RSPO baseline audits will be conducted for small producers and support will also be provided to close significant gaps in the production process, in order to help the small businesses become compliant and receive RSPO certification.

[pullquote style="right"]I’ve gained a lot of guidance to increase my crop yield and lower the cost involved … Producer Group Member[/pullquote]

Impact of this work

Unlike other donor-supported initiatives, we are aware of the need to make the project self-financing within a 3-year period. For this, the model also has to be attractive to other project sites.

By focusing resources on a small pilot model to create a workable and practical model, combined with the Wild Asia’s credibility and rapport amongst buyers/producers, we are confident that the model would be easily adapted to other RSPO mills.

Poster: Keresa’s RSPO Group Scheme for Smallholders (2011)

A project poster presented at the RSPO RT8 meeting. The poster highlights some of the key learnings of our work with smallholders in Sarawak, Borneo. This project was initiated by Wild Asia and Keresa Plantations & Mill with contributions by the Palm Oil Producer Support Initiative (POPSI), and initiative of Solidaridad, WWF and RSPO.

Keresa’s RSPO Group Scheme for Smallholders Poster for RSPO RT9 (2011) (441 downloads )