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The RSPO recognises the importance of smallholders and the need for improving smallholder inclusion in the RSPO system. The RSPO supports smallholders using a variety of approaches, such as easing access to funding through the RSPO Smallholder Support Fund (RSSF) and facilitating smallholder certification by offering Group Certification and ‘Guidance for Group Certification of FFB Production’. While these efforts provide value for smallholder farmers, the RSPO acknowledges that they have yet to provoke the large-scale inclusion of smallholders which the RSPO and its stakeholders desire.
General Assembly results in a resolution for a smallholder strategy
During the 12th General Assembly in November 2015, the RSPO took this challenge as an opportunity to pass Resolution 6f, which called to develop a comprehensive strategy and action plan to realise the full potential of smallholders. As a result of passing this resolution, the RSPO engaged with relevant stakeholders to understand and define the key elements of an effective smallholder strategy. From July to October 2016, the RSPO Secretariat hosted four geographically inclusive workshops in Indonesia, the Netherlands, Ghana, and Honduras, with over 170 attendees from a wide range of stakeholder groups. Local, independent consultants facilitated each workshop to ensure maximum inclusivity of stakeholders and to remove language barriers for better communication.
Marieke Leegwater of Solidaridad excited to collaborate on smallholder plan
“I am delighted to note that RSPO has adopted the strategy and action plan to become more inclusive for smallholders. Smallholders are an important part of all palm oil supply chains, producing between 30 to 40 per cent of oil palm, globally. Thus, to create truly sustainable palm oil value chains, it is very important for RSPO to take them along. So far, this hasn’t been done in a very consistent manner. Now that the strategy is adopted, we can collaboratively work on its implementation and I am very happy to see this is already taking place. During the ongoing review process of the RSPO Principles and Criteria, there is dedicated attention to ensure smallholder realities are taken into account,” said Marieke Leegwater, International Programme Coordinator Palm Oil, Solidaridad.
Board of Governors approves RSPO Smallholder Strategy framework
In March 2017, the RSPO Board of Governors approved the strategic framework that underpins the full RSPO Smallholder Strategy. Below is an overview of the RSPO Smallholder Strategy.