The Jakarta Post
The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), a non-profit promoting sustainable palm production, says it will give financial aid to smallholders seeking certification.
Indonesia RSPO director Desi Kusumadewi said in Jakarta that the Kuala Lumpur-based association would allocate 50 percent of its annual fund surplus, currently topping US$1.91 million, to help smallholders practice sustainable palm oil cultivation and gain certification.
Desi said that the organization would also allocate 10 percent of its income from trading certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) to smallholders in producing countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Papua New Guinea and in several Latin American and African countries.
RSPO launched its Smallholders Support Fund (RSSF) during its Extraordinary General Assembly in Kuala Lumpur on April 25 to acknowledge the dominant role of smallholders in palm oil production, Desi said.
To support sustainable palm oil production, the RSPO, according to Desi, could not stop with supporting companies and consumers to produce and use CSPO, but had to embrace fast-growing smallholders that lacked good agriculture practices.
According to the organization, 44 percent of all palm plantations in Indonesia were owned by smallholders, while Forestry Ministry data said that the nation currently had around 9 million hectares of palm oil plantation under cultivation.
Data also showed that smallholders in Thailand, Papua New Guinea, and Malaysia had developed 76 percent, 42 percent, and 41 percent of their palm oil plantation hectares respectively.
'Despite the numbers, most smallholders have yet to demonstrate good agriculture practices,' Desi told reporters in a discussion on Monday.
'Most of them are using low quality seeds that generate low yields and are also poor in managing production and utilizing fertilizer,' Desi added.
RSPO currently has 1,217 members, comprising producers, processors and traders, consumer goods manufacturers, retailers, banks and investors, environmental and NGOs from 53 countries.
Its members produce about 40 percent of the world's palm oil and process or use more than 30 percent.
According to the RSPO's data, 15 percent of the world's palm oil production, or 8.2 million metric tons a year, is produced on the 2.2 million hectares that have been RSPO certified.
Indonesia is the largest sustainable-certified palm oil producer at 48.2 percent of total production, followed by Malaysia at 43.9 percent.
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