As a smallholder

Gaining certification changes everything

Get involved

At the RSPO, we strongly support independent smallholders. We help them improve their livelihoods by building the capacity of sustainable agriculture practices on their farms.

Today, more than 7 million smallholders around the world make a living from oil palm. In Malaysia and Indonesia alone, smallholdings represent approximately 40% of the total area for oil palm production.

As the name suggests, smallholder plantations are small-scale, with planted oil palm areas of less than 50 hectares. Under RSPO Certification, smallholders can grow oil palm independently, as part of an Independent Smallholder Group or as part of a Smallholder Scheme. They have the potential to make a significant impact to our shared mission to transform oil palm production and procurement into a sustainable industry.


Benefits of becoming RSPO Certified.

  • Improved management practices
  • Increased yield and access to markets
  • Better quality Fresh Fruit Bunches (FFB)
  • Strengthened partnerships

Smallholders face many challenges on the ground, from insufficient start-up support to low yields.

Becoming RSPO Certified

We want to support more smallholders to become RSPO Certified.

This will help them produce more oil using less land, improve livelihoods, and reduce the risk of land conversion which threatens forest, wildlife, and biodiversity. By learning best management practices, certified smallholders also gain improved access to markets.

To include more smallholders and to reflect their unique circumstances and needs, we have developed the RSPO Independent Smallholder (ISH) Standard. Exclusively for independent smallholders, this standard strikes a balance between promoting greater smallholder inclusion and protecting our core sustainability requirements. The standard has a simplified certification approach, which makes it more straightforward to enter the RSPO Certification System, and provides a phased process for reaching and verifying compliance.

How can you support smallholders?

Empowering smallholder farmers and engaging them in sustainable supply chains is essential to making the palm oil market more sustainable.

Strengthening capacity to become certified

Smallholders need help from third parties to strengthen their capacity to gain their 2019 RSPO Independent Smallholder (ISH) Standard certification. Downstream players such as Consumer Goods Manufacturers or retailers can support these efforts.

If your organization is able to support smallholder groups, please connect on the RSPO Smallholder Engagement Platform (RSEP). RSEP connects smallholders seeking potential financial or non-financial support around the world with potential partners to help them with their project.

RSPO Smallholder Credits

You can help smallholders become included in the sustainable supply chain by purchasing RSPO Smallholders Credits. These help smallholders sharpen their focus on environmental and social sustainability in their oil palm management activities.

RSPO Smallholder Support Fund (RSSF)

To encourage smallholders to achieve certification, we provide financial assistance through the RSPO Smallholder Support Fund (RSSF). Since its inception in 2013, the RSSF has provided funding to programmes supporting 30,379 smallholders across five major oil palm producing regions: Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Africa and Latin America.

Smallholder Trainer Academy (STA)

We help smallholders build their capacity by providing high-quality training, training guides, practical tools, and advice on agricultural best practices, amongst other things. The STA aims to build a global community of master trainers and help smallholders move towards more sustainable livelihoods.

Find out more about smallholder certification


Contact us at [email protected].