About the group
Number of smallholders: 279 = 264(M), 15 (W)
Total Area: 479 Ha
On-going Facilitator: Koompasia Enviro Institute/PTP-III/Unilever
Location of project: AngkolaSangkunur, Tapanuli Selatan district, Sumatera Utara province
Province: Sumatera Utara province
SUSTAINABILITY JOURNEY STORY
RSPO certification helps farmers to improve their land legality
U.D. Samin is a local trading business that has been buying fresh fruits bunches from local independent farmers and supplying to mills, sees the benefit of sustainable practices and decides to encourage farmers on his books to obtain RSPO certification by creating a unit specifically for that.
In 2019, Koompasia Enviro Institute who supported by Unilever and PTPN-III mill introduced the concept of sustainable practices to the owner of U.D. Samin. The trading company that has hundreds of smallholders on its book, interested and agreed to introduce it to farmers in Angkola Sangkunur, Tapanuli Selatan District, North Sumatra province, Indonesia.
According to Rohim Suprapto, deputy group manager of Internal Control System in U.D. Samin, most farmers who sell their harvests to his family company are traditional farmers who just copied their neighbors in planting their palm, never received any training or assistance on how to maintain oil palm plantation.
Suprapto recalled, he saw this as an opportunity for farmers in his area. “I thought the company could become a forum for independent smallholders to improve their knowledge on oil palm production, increase the yields of their farm and increase the quality of their harvest which in turn will bring benefit to all members.”
The Internal Control System was then formed by choosing the 20 committed farmers who then undergo a series of training from the facilitator and then train other members.
One of RSO certification’s requirements is land legality and most farmers holds the lowest tier of legality. In the process of preparing the farmers to go for RSPO audit, the local government is in the process of helping farmers to obtain land certificate, the highest land legality in Indonesia which is equivalent to freehold in Anglo-Saxon system.
“Because we have farmers organization, we can also participate in government program to get land certification. So about 150 plots of our members now have Surat Hak Milik. This is a huge impact for farmers. By organizing ourselves, we can get better service from the government who also promoting land certification program for farmers. So, this is really a win-win situation for us and the land agency.”
About 50 percent of the members own less than 1 hectare of plantation and it is very important for them to make sure the productivity of their plots is improving. “By applying the right fertilizer and the right time and right dosage, we can the improvement in the yields,” admitted Sakimin, member of the farmer organization. The mill, PTPN III, have been facilitating the purchase of fertilizer for the group.
Another benefits for farmers by having certification is transparency in the supply chain, according to Suprapto. “Previously, I was the only one who knew the mill requirement of fruits quality. By having the organization, now farmers can directly communicate with the mill manager so they can hear from him and now farmers understand they need to harvest only the ripe one.”
Suprapto added, RSPO Certification allows them to be known in the international market and bring pride among farmers in the area. “There are at least 1,200 hectares oil palm managed in this area. The farmers of U.D. Samin have set good examples to others who have not applied sustainable practices yet and we hope we can get more members in the coming years.”
However, there are some challenges ahead, Suprato added.The capacity of the internal control system is a key and capacity development are needed until they can gradually run the organization independently.
Total area covered by the project
Number of smallholders benefitting from this project
Number/percentage of women supported by this project
5.38% women in this project
How you can support
The group members are in the first year of being RSPO Certified, the internal control system is still in the learning phase and they need assistance from the third party to strengthen their capacity to retain their ISH RSPO certification. This effort should be appreciated by the downstream players such as Consumer Good Manufacturers or retailers.
Please give us support in the sustainable supply chain by purchasing the RSPO Smallholders Credits. There will be more attention to promote transparency in the supply chain and safety.