Malaysian oil palm smallholders stand to benefit from the recently introduced Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil’s (RSPO) Smallholders Support Fund (RSSF) as a funding support for the industry.
The RSSF is introduced to acknowledge the imperative and dominant role smallholders around the world play in the palm oil sector to promote and increase the production of Certified Sustainable Palm Oil.
RSPO secretary-general Darrel Webber said the primary challenge for smallholders to become certified included the lack of awareness on benefits being certified and lack of expertise or capacity building.
“Given the significant ratio of smallholders in the palm oil sector, it is critical they continue to be central in our strategy to catapult sustainable practices in the sector towards market transformation,” he said in a statement.
Of the five million hectares under oil palm in Malaysia, 40% belonged to smallholders making them a force to be reckoned with in the country’s palm oil industry.
Besides Malaysia, the fund is also offered to eligible global oil palm growers among smallholders in other oil palm producing countries such as Indonesia, Thailand and Africa.
RSPO is a not-for-profit association that unites stakeholders from seven sectors of the palm oil industry including oil palm producers and palm oil processors or traders to develop and implement global standards for sustainable palm oil.
In September 2012, the RSPO announced its first certification of independent smallholders in Thailand through group certification.
The community comprised 412 smallholders over 2,767.33ha of planted land with an opportunity to trade some 52,000 tonnes of certified sustainable fresh fruit bunches.
The RSPO executive board approved the institution of RSSF and its mechanism on Oct 29, 2012