Thanks to RSPO funding, within 3 years, Solidaridad West Africa-Côte d’Ivoire will be implementing one of the largest RSPO certification programmes ever to be conducted on behalf of smallholders. Under a group certification project, 5,000 Ivorian smallholders have been targeted to help make sustainable production of palm oil the norm in Côte d’Ivoire.
Côte d’Ivoire is Africa’s third largest producer of palm oil. Since 2012, the government has led an initiative to increase yearly production from 400,000t to 600,000t by 2020. The RSPO certification programme will help to ensure that new and existing volumes are produced sustainably.
Stakeholders gather in Abidjan to discuss details
The kick-off workshop was held in Abidjan in December 2016, in order to highlight both expectations of conduct and programme activities. Almost all stakeholders and actors of the palm oil industry were represented during the workshop, which gathered about 35 delegates from smallholders, co-ops, the Interprofessional Palm Oil Association, millers, environmental NGOs, technical advisory agencies, and more.
Solidaridad introduced the global RSPO smallholder group certification programme and more specifically the activities to be implemented in Côte d’Ivoire. Likely areas of intervention were presented to participants who shared concerns about the requirements for establishing groups and the conditions needed to align beneficiaries with the programme. Participatory and inclusive debates were open to all in order to better comprehend RSPO group certification.
Blidouba field visit deepens understanding of programme
“The RSPO Group certification is an opportunity to create an impact in palm oil sector”, said CISSE Ahmadou, Country Representative and Palm Oil programme Manager of Solidaridad West Africa-Côte d’Ivoire while addressing co-op representatives during a field visit after the kick-off event. The visit was conducted in Blidouba to expand upon project details for actors in likely areas (South-west, South, Central-west) of project implementation. Blidouba hosts the agro-industrial unit of Palmci, one of the biggest millers in Côte d’Ivoire.
Impact of programme incentivizes certified production
The anticipated impact of the programme is to sustainably increase yields through Best Management Practices (BMP). Solidaridad has already driven such results successfully in other sustainable palm oil production programmes.
The growth of the palm oil industry in Cote d'Ivoire brings with it an opportunity to educate new global markets on the proven benefits of the RPSO platform, for sustainable certification of palm oil products.
In addition, the RSPO group certification project gives farmers the opportunity to attend high-valued training sessions and be part of a farming management transformation process that guarantees positive social and economic impact in their daily lives.