As a smallholder

Gaining certification changes everything

Get involved

At the RSPO, we help to improve smallholder livelihoods by building the capacity of sustainable agriculture practices on your farms.

Today, more than seven (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.

WHAT TYPE OF SMALLHOLDER ARE YOU?

Independent Smallholder
  • You are NOT a scheme smallholder (see definition below)
  • The total size of your oil palm production area is:
    • smaller than or equal to 50 hectares(ha) if no threshold is defined in a National Interpretation; OR
    • smaller than or equal to the maximum size defined in a National Interpretation (e.g., for Indonesia this implies threshold size is 20 ha or below and for Ecuador 75 ha or below).
  • You have the enforceable decision-making power on the operation of the land and production practices.
  • You have the freedom to choose how you utilise the land, type of crops to plant, and how to manage them (how yoy organise, manage and finance the land).
  • You meet any further criteria relative to the applicability of this standard as provided in the National Interpretation of their country.
Scheme Smallholder
  • The enforceable decision-making power on the operation of the land and production practices; and/or
  • The freedom to choose how they utilise their land, types of crops to plant, and how they manage them (how they organise, manage and finance the land) (source : RSPO P&C 2018);
  • Smallholders that may be structurally bound by contract, credit agreement or by planning to a particular mill, but the association is not necessarily limited to such linkages. Other terms commonly used for schema smallholders include associated and/or plasma smallholders (source : RSPO Certification System for P&C 2017).

SMALLHOLDER CERTIFICATION IN NUMBERS

Source: Market Data, January 2024

INDEPENDENT SMALLHOLDERS
45,283
SCHEME SMALLHOLDERS
126,634
TOTAL SMALLHOLDERS
171,917
INDEPENDENT SMALLHOLDERS CERTIFIED PRODUCTION AREA (HA)
119,058
SCHEME SMALLHOLDERS CERTIFIED PRODUCTION AREA (HA)
304,670
TOTAL SMALLHOLDERS CERTIFIED AREA (HA)
423,728
INDEPENDENT SMALLHOLDERS FFB CERTIFIED (MT)
2,142,928
SCHEME SMALLHOLDERS FFB CERTIFIED (MT)
5,472,153
TOTAL SMALLHOLDERS FFB CERTIFIED (MT)
7,615,081
TOTAL GLOBAL CERTIFIED CSPO (MT)
16,973,348
TOTAL GLOBAL CERTIFICATION AREA (HA)
5,175,840
AVERAGE YIELD (FFB MT/HA/YR)
17.97
NO. OF CERTIFIED INDEPENDENT SMALLHOLDER GROUPS
119
% TOTAL SMALLHOLDER CERTIFIED AREA (AGAINST GLOBAL CERTIFIED) HA
9.33%
TOTAL SMALLHOLDER CSPO (BASED ON 20% OER)
1,523,016
% OF SMALLHOLDER CSPO (AGAINST GLOBAL CERTIFIED VOLUME) MT
8.97%

Benefits

Benefits of becoming RSPO Certified:

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

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 your unique circumstances and needs, we 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 GET SUPPORT?

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

Start your journey into certification and training

Strengthening capacity to become certified

Secure support from third parties to strengthen your capacity to gain your 2019 RSPO Independent Smallholder (ISH) Standard certification. Downstream players such as consumer goods manufacturers or retailers can support you to achieve this. 

Sign up and connect on the RSPO Smallholder Engagement Platform (RSEP), which connects smallholders seeking potential financial or non-financial support around the world with potential partners to help them with their project.

RSPO Smallholder Credits

Do you want to  earn premiums for your sustainability efforts, regardless of your location or plot size? Sell your FFB as RSPO Smallholders Credits on RSPO PalmTrace.

RSPO Smallholder Support Fund (RSSF)

The RSPO provides financial assistance through the RSPO Smallholder Support Fund (RSSF) to help you achieve certification. 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)

Build capacity by taking advantage of high-quality training, training guides, practical tools, and advice on agricultural best practices, amongst other things.

Find out more about smallholder certification

Questions?

Please email our Smallholder Team.

Photo Credit: RSPO/SayanCHUENUDOMSAVAD