A new milestone has been achieved by RSPO Independent Smallholders, as certified Fresh Fruit Bunch (FFB) production crossed the one million metric tonne (MT) mark in August 2021.
This record increase in certified FFB production amounts to about 534,631 MT — up from 490,944 MT in August 2020 to 1,025,575.00 MT in August 2021, as reported in the RSPO August 2021 market data. This growth reflects the sizable increase of the number of RSPO certified Independent Smallholders, a 155% jump within the one year period, up from 8,000 to 20,413. The one million MT milestone is attributed to 59 certified Independent Smallholder groups from Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand) and Africa (Sierra Leone).
“This massive 52% growth in just one year is a proud achievement of Independent Smallholders, who are at the heart of the palm oil industry,” said Krishna Jeyabalan, RSPO Smallholder Certification Assistant Manager. “We continue to encourage downstream stakeholders, including consumer goods manufacturers, retailers and consumers, to strengthen their support for smallholders in several ways, including the purchase of RSPO Smallholder Credits, promoting the RSPO Smallholder Trainer Academy and smallholder programmes run by some RSPO members.”
To date, the certified smallholder area (including Scheme Smallholders) covers 442,749 ha, representing around 10% of total certified oil palm smallholder area worldwide.
Over recent years, RSPO has strengthened its support for smallholders through its initiative, the Smallholder Trainer Academy, which helps oil palm smallholders and their supporting organisations access high quality training, training guides and materials, and capacity building, in order to build more sustainable livelihoods. The Academy also gathers an international network of partners to build and support a global community providing training resources and innovative learning methods tailored to smallholders’ needs.
Through the Smallholder Trainer Academy, RSPO members have been proactively supporting smallholders through various training initiatives, which include disseminating good agricultural practices, better farm management and group dynamics, and incorporating more environmentally and socially sustainable practices with the view to improve the livelihoods of smallholders.