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Palm oil smallholders: a sustainable development challenge

Smallholders News | March 23, 2016
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Palm oil is the world’s most widely consumed vegetable oil and demand is rising. This commodity is essential for economic development in South East Asia, particularly in Indonesia and Malaysia, which together produce over 80% of palm oil. But its cultivation has also become synonymous with negative environmental and social impacts.

In response, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) was formed in 2004 to promote the production and use of sustainable palm oil through a credible global standard and engagement of stakeholders. We are an international, not-for-profit, multi-stakeholder association with more than 2,400 members. Over 2.56 million hectares have now been certified to the RSPO standard for sustainable palm oil, producing more than 20% of global supply.

Smallholders are critical, producing 40% of the palm oil, but suffering from lower yields. We want to support more smallholders to become RSPO certified, in order to produce more oil using less land, reducing the threat to forests and biodiversity, and raising level of income among poor farmers.

The RSPO Smallholder Support Fund enables smallholders with capacity building to improve agricultural practices and fully reimburses their audit costs. Smallholders who are certified by RSPO can access the growing market for certified sustainable palm oil and help global consumer goods companies meet their commitments to sustainable palm oil.

To date the RSPO has helped 131,432 individual smallholders gain certification and helped facilitate partnerships between smallholders, NGOs and the private sector.

RSPO will transform markets to make sustainable palm oil the norm.