The RSPO and the Indonesian government, through the Ministry of Cooperatives and SMEs, are strengthening their relations by exploring avenues of collaboration to accelerate certification amongst oil palm smallholder farmers in Indonesia.

In November 2022, following a side event at the Annual Roundtable Conference on Sustainable Palm Oil 2022 (RT2022) in Kuala Lumpur, representatives from the Indonesian Ministry of Cooperatives and SMEs held a bilateral meeting with RSPO Chief Executive Officer, JD D´Cruz. Following this inaugural meeting, in February 2023, two members of the RSPO Board of Governors – Narno Sayoto Irontiko, Manager of the Asosiasi Petani Sawit Swadaya Amanah smallholders group, and Rukaiyah Rafik, Advisor of the Gapoktan Tanjung Sehati smallholders group – joined D´Cruz in a meeting with Bapak Teten Masduki, Indonesian Minister of Cooperatives and SMEs, to identify and discuss convergences that support and facilitate smallholders who have joined cooperatives.

“We look forward to strengthening our cooperation with RSPO to accelerate the progress of Indonesian smallholders towards becoming more sustainable, and unlocking opportunities for improved livelihoods and community development,” expressed Minister Masduki.

Key topics discussed during the meeting include boosting capacity building for smallholder cooperatives in Indonesia, establishing stronger groups, sharing lessons and best practices, facilitating access to financial support, advancing certification amongst Indonesian oil palm smallholders, and developing post-certification business models to boost livelihoods.

“Closer collaboration with the Indonesian government is crucial in achieving RSPO’s vision of transforming the palm oil market while leaving no smallholder behind,” said D’Cruz. “40% of Indonesia’s smallholders who are not yet part of the sustainability journey represent an untapped potential. Our strengthened alignment with the Indonesian government will allow us to better support smallholders to transition towards stronger sustainable practices and to commit to continuous improvement leading to certification.”

Scaling incentives for smallholders

Over the years, RSPO has provided continuous annual incentives directly to oil palm smallholder cooperatives in Indonesia. In 2022, approximately US$3.95 million was disbursed directly to 49 independent smallholder groups through the PalmTrace platform. More incentives are soon to follow as the number of smallholders getting certification is increasing exponentially in Indonesia. Despite this growth, the number of Indonesian smallholders being certified still remains less than 1% of the estimated total 2.6 million independent smallholders in the country.

“Smallholders are at the heart of Indonesia’s palm oil industry, yet more incentives are needed to encourage larger numbers of smallholders to become part of the sustainable palm oil supply chain. We hope that our initial meetings with the Ministry of Cooperatives and SMEs will lead to stronger partnerships to drive smallholder inclusion and help RSPO reach its goal of certifying one million independent smallholders in Indonesia,” added Guntur Cahyo Prabowo, RSPO Smallholder Programme Acting Head.

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