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Single largest independent smallholder group gets RSPO certification

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by August 23, 2016 General
An aerial view of an oil palm plantation in South Sumatra, Indonesia. - Antara Foto, via Reuters

An aerial view of an oil palm plantation in South Sumatra, Indonesia. – Antara Foto, via Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR: A group of more than 2,700 independent smallholders covering 5,500ha in South Sumatra, Indonesia, has received the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification, making it the world’s largest individual group of independent smallholders ever to be certified.

This was achieved in June with support from Wilmar International Ltd’s subsidiary, PT Tania Selatan, and financial assistance from the RSPO Smallholder Support Fund, said Wilmar and RSPO in a joint statement on Tuesday.

Singapore-listed Wilmar, the world’s largest processor of palm and lauric oil, is also currently collaborating with social enterprise Wild Asia, French cosmetic giant L’Oreal, Clariant and Global Amines to help 500 independent smallholders in the Beluran district of Sabah to become certified against the RSPO standards.

On the Indonesian certification project, Wilmar and RSPO said the 2,700 smallholders were made up of seven village level cooperatives under the registered group name ‘Sapta Tunggal Mandiri’ (STM).

These smallholders collectively produce about 92,000 metric tonnes (MT) of certified fresh fruit bunches (FFB). The certified products from the STM group will be sold via the mass balance supply chain.

As for the Sabah project, the aim is to produce the equivalent of about 70,000 MT of FFB by 2020.

“Smallholders are pivotal to the palm oil industry as they account for about 40% of the world’s total palm oil output,” Wilmar and RSPO said.

To date, the RSPO has helped 113,673 individual smallholders gain certification and helped facilitate partnerships between smallholders, non-governmental organisations and the private sector. A total of certified area for smallholders is 263,371 ha.

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