Trang sustainable palm oil grower community enterprise network

About the group

Number of smallholders: 433 (304 Men, 129 Women)

Total Land Area: 2269.12 Ha

Status: Not Certified

Group location: 168 Moo 1, Trang-Sikao Road, Nammuangphet Sub-district, Sikao District, Trang Province 92000

Country: Thailand

On-going Facilitator:


“Sustainable palm plantation practices will not end with our generation, but must be passed down to children and grandchildren to sustain good farm management.


Mr. Saravorn Yaotuck, Group Manager of Trang Sustainable Palm Oil Grower Community Enterprise Network



“Trang Palm Oil Company Limited engaged farmers in many projects before becoming a certified member for sustainable palm oil plantation, such as conducting training and organising palm-cutting competition events. When The RSPO began in our area, that helped us form a group easily,” said Saravorn Yaotuck, Group Manager of Trang Sustainable Palm Oil Grower Community Enterprise Network. 


“People gathered from all over the province when they recognised RSPO Certification as another means of enhancing their income. However, the majority of farm owners are elderly. After joining RSPO, they had difficulty understanding and consistently complying with the guidelines. For instance, they were unable to take notes because of such issues as poor eyesight and illegible penmanship due to trembling hands. Sustainable palm cultivation is not just for our current generation of landowners. This concept must be passed on to younger generations to perpetuate good farm management practices.


“After being certified by RSPO, members gained more knowledge about proper farm management,” Saravorn shared further. “They now take more notes and use less chemicals. Recently, the group has undertaken social initiatives as part of the palm contractor development project. Teams of palm-cutting contractors are encouraged to register names, licence plates and the number of rai available to cut palm trees, as well as farm owners’ names. Before being evaluated, the contractor teams are given up to 100 points per trip. The score varies according to the maturity and quality of palms. After being assessed at six and 11 months, a summary of each team’s scores is provided.

“The weight of the submitted palm influences the competition ranking. For example, the highest rank was more than 1,000 tons per year, while the lowest was less than 50 tons per year. There are four levels. Prize money is awarded based on rank and quality,” Saravorn explained about the palm cutting contractor development project.

When asked if the group had ever used RSPO tools such as the High Conservation Value (HCV) application, the Group Manager replied, “Not yet because their database was inconsistent and they were unable to locate the application. At the moment, roughly 10–20% of the data needs to be completed as they removed some names of those who are not yet ready to join. However, after speaking with members of other groups, it is known that there are some issues with this tool such as missing data. It is preferable to wait until the group’s data is more consistent and the function of the application is stable.” 


Saravorn continued to identify the major challenges of shifting to sustainable oil palm plantation practices. “Many farmers are elderly. They grow 5–10 rai of palm plantations to earn some extra income. Keeping detailed records of sale volume and the costs of cutting palm can be new and difficult for them. Encouraging them to keep farm records may take some time.


“Previously, smallholders did not keep track of the labour costs involved with applying fertilisers. They simply paid Workers wages without taking any notes. They may have applied fertiliser when they were not working, or cut palm whenever it was convenient for them instead of following a schedule. As a result, when the manager requested the daily income and expense records of their Workers, such as paid meals of THB 50, it was difficult for them. An elderly person may have trouble holding a pencil well, or their eyesight might be failing. Such challenges can be overcome by encouraging their children to manage instead.”


Saravorn spoke about the next year and the five-year goals on sustainable palm production. “The group targets to increase productivity by 25% per year because, after shifting to sustainable palm plantation, farmers systematically keep farm records and have a better understanding of the objectives behind being RSPO Members. The key to ensuring that smallholder groups continue to be certified long-term is the cooperation of members in monitoring their work. Members have been monitoring their work quite effectively so far, except for taking notes, which still requires some time to adjust.


“I always tell the group to take good notes. Some farms already take notes even if they don’t fully understand why they have to do so. We explain that keeping records aims to show comparison over time. For example, fertiliser and labour costs to apply this year in comparison to the previous two to three years, as well as tracking income by year. We recommend what needs to be tracked on a yearly basis to determine the cost and revenue per kilogram (kg). Keeping all farm records can help farmers see costs and income per kg to be able to predict whether they should continue to plant, or if the payback period takes 20 or more years, maybe they should not plant that crop. Farmers must be educated on how to forecast feasibility to be successful in business as well,” Saravorn explained.  


Saravorn outlined how to ensure smallholders remain RSPO Certified in the long term. “It is critical to hold everyone accountable for their roles and comply with the standard. For example, how to spread palm fronds, no chemical usage and understanding that fertiliser should not be used near water resources because it may flow into them due to rain. If everyone follows the standards, we know we have made progress as we can observe the positive changes.”

Target Project Impact

Total area covered by the project
2269.12 Ha

Number of smallholders benefitting from this project
433 Smallholders

Number/percentage of women supported by this project
29.79% women in this project

How you can support

Interested individuals can provide support to the group as follows:

  1. Supporting agricultural training by providing knowledge documents, equipment used in various training activities, such as portable whiteboards for writing comments, cameras, or drones for aerial surveying of water sources in oil palm plantations.
  2. Supporting trainers in providing knowledge on the development of media used in agricultural training, such as PowerPoint presentation skills, photography techniques, or video editing.
  3. Providing funding support for the annual RSPO certification audit process.


168 Moo 1, Trang-Sikao Road, Nammuangphet Sub-district, Sikao District, Trang Province 92000

Representative Contact
SARAVORN YAOTUCK | Academic staff | [email protected] |

Worawit Wongsureerat
Senior coordinator
(+66) 88 886 0651
[email protected]


Trang sustainable palm oil grower community enterprise network

Trang sustainable palm oil grower community enterprise network

Trang sustainable palm oil grower community enterprise network

Trang sustainable palm oil grower community enterprise network

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