Smallholders certification

There are an estimated 3 million oil palm smallholders worldwide. Together they produce around 40% of total global production. In countries such as Thailand and Nigeria, smallholders are the primary producers, making them a vital part of the national palm oil supply chain.

However, smallholders traditionally face many challenges. They lack knowledge about good agricultural practices and logistics, and have difficulty in gaining access to markets. Due to their smaller plot size, independent smallholders are less efficient than other producers. Their yields are generally much lower than those of commercial plantations. A number of projects aimed at assisting smallholders have identified further critical issues, such as the use of poor quality seedlings, maintaining old palms, applying insufficient fertiliser, harvesting unripe FFBs, and poor data management.

It is imperative that smallholders are able to participate in the supply chain if sustainable palm oil is to really become the norm in the market. RSPO certification is designed to support smallholders to improve their livelihoods by targeting the key factors that make a big difference: improved management practices, better quality fresh fruit binches (FFB), increased yields and access to markets.


RSPO Certification for Smallholder video in Spanish, Thai, Indonesian, Bahasa Melayu



Document revision: RSPO Management System Requirements and Guidance for Group Certification of FFB Production


Terms of Reference (ToR)

RSPO Smallholder Guidance Document Revision -ToR
(197 KB)

1st Round Public consultation: 3rd Nov 2014 - 2nd Jan 2015

RSPO announces the start of the public consultation period for its new 'DRAFT - RSPO Management System Requirements and Guidance for Group Certification of FFB Production' (Version 1.5; Oct. 2014) and is inviting you to provide feedback and comments.

The document is available in English, Bahasa Indonesia, Spanish, French and Thai. You can submit your comments using the comments template in the corresponding language. The 60 day consultation period lasts from the 4th of November 2014 until including the 2nd of January 2015. All documents can be downloaded from the related information below and your comments will be received at

RSPO Management System Requirements for FFB Certification
Comments Template for Public Consultation


Stakeholders Mapping

Three physical consultative forums on the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) Smallholder Guidance Document has been conducted during the public consultation period.

10th November, 2014 Accra, West Africa

15th November, 2014 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

03th December, 2014, Quito, Ecuador

Stakeholders mapping were done using the list of smallholders organisations held by RSPO as well as list of event participants from a couple of smallholders’ related events done in these regions.

Further stakeholder targeting were carried out via email and skype, particularly in Africa due to travel restrictions (ebola issues). 

Click here to download the compiled comments in pdf format.

SHWG Meeting, 25-27 Feb 2015

A 2.5 days meeting by the RSPO Smallholders Working Group was held recently in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to discuss the comments received during the Public Consultation period. The meeting was facilitated by Proforest Initiatives, with 22 members of SHWG presence in the meeting.

The comments received during the public consultation prompted the SHWG to work on a thorough rewrite of the document with the aim to simplify it substantially.

There will be a second 60 day public consultation period in May/June time, where comments can be received and for which the document will be available in other key languages (English, Bahasa Indonesia, Thai and Spanish)


2nd Round Public Consultation: 7th May 2015 - 6th July 2015


RSPO announces 2nd Round Public Consultation on DRAFT - RSPO Management System Requirements and Guidance for Group Certification of FFB Production’ (Version 2; March 2015)

The public consultation period lasts 60 days, from the 07th of May 2015 until including 06th of July 2015. Only comments submitted using this template will be accepted.

We invite comments for the following documents:

1.     ‘DRAFT - RSPO Management System Requirements and Guidance for Group Certification of FFB Production’ (Version 2; March 2015)

2.     RSPO Certification Systems - New subsection on Group Certification

The documents, as well as the comments templates, can be downloaded here 

‘DRAFT - RSPO Management System Requirements and Guidance for Group Certification...Ver 2,March'15
RSPO Certification Systems - New subsection on Group Certification
Comments Template (Word Format)
Comments Template (pdf)

Please send your comments template to the following address by end of day 06th of July

Additionally to the online submission of comments a series of public consultation workshops is being organised. Following successful public consultation workshops in Kuala Lumpur, Accra and Quito during the first round of public consultation for this document from Nov 2014- Jan 2015, the workshops in this second round will take place in Jakarta, Bogotá and Abidjan on the following dates:

Jakarta, Indonesia 27th of May 2015 (Please contact Jaya Kanniah / Imam El Marzuq if you would like further information)

Bogotá, Colombia 11th of June 2015 (Favor de contactar a Francisco Naranjo  si requiere más informaciones)

Abidjan, Ivory Coast 26th of June 2015 (Pour des renseignements supplémentaires veuillez contacter Bilge Daldeniz


This page provides reference to palm oil smallholders who wish to be RSPO certified. For more general information on Smallholders, visit the Members section.

Documents on Smallholders

RSPO Smallholders Support Fund (RSSF)
English (238 KB)
Background of RSPO Smallholders Document Review
English (456 KB)
English (8 MB)
Buku Panduan Penerapan Prinsip dan Kriteria RSPO
Indonesian (5 MB)
Buku Panduan Pelatihan Fasilitator Prinsip dan Kriteria Produksi Minyak Sawit Berkelanjutan
Indonesian (6 MB)
Buku Panduan Petani Mandiri
Indonesian (5 MB)


Training on RSPO Principles & Criteria / Group Certification

High Conservation Values HCV
Thai (2 MB)
RSPO Practical Gueideline for Smallholders: Farmer Friendly Version
Thai (12 MB)
Soil, Water and Resources Conservation for Smallholders
Thai (3 MB)
RSPO Practical Guideline for Smallholders
OHS guide
Thai (676 KB)
Occupational Health & Safety for Oil Palm Smallholders and Workers
Thai (4 MB)
Integrated Pest Management
Thai (4 MB)
Internal Control System (ICS) for RSPO Smallholder Group Certification
Thai (2 MB)
Oil Palm Fertilizer Management: Farmer Friendly Version
Thai (1 MB)
Penggunaan Api dan Pertanian
Malaysian (221 KB)
Kesuburan Tanah
Malaysian (1 MB)
Keselamatan & Kesihatan Semasa Penyemburan Racun
Malaysian (1 MB)
Kawalan Pencemaran
Malaysian (383 KB)
Pengurusan Perosak Bersepadu (IPM)
Malaysian (1 MB)
Pelupusan Bekas Racun Perosak
Malaysian (501 KB)
POPSI KOD PERLAKSANAAN Skim Kumpulan bagi Pekebun Kecil
Malaysian (1 MB)
Malaysian (2 MB)


Presentations of smallholders experience on certification: Challenges and lessons learned

Smallholders Best Practices (shared by SOLIDARIDAD)
English (372 KB)
Thailand: Certified FFB Trading & Annual Surveillance Audit - Thai Smallholder Groups
English (2 MB)
SPKS Capacity Building for Palm Oil Smallholders in Indonesia
English (1 MB)
SPKS as a smallholders organization in Indonesia
English (3 MB)
English (2 MB)
Journey Towards RSPO Certification of the 1st Malaysian Independent Smallholder Group Lessons Lea
English (3 MB)
English (747 KB)
Smallholder Oil Palm Growers In Latin America
English (1 MB)
Smallholders and Certification (study case: Sumatra, Indonesia)
English (2 MB)
Asosiasi Petani Swadaya AMANAH – Indonesia's first RSPO certified Independent Smallholders Group
English (5 MB)
Integrating Independent Smallholder Farmers into SPO Chain Through RSPO Certification, Ghana Africa
English (1 MB)
Lesson Learnt and Challenges in Auditing Independent Smallholders
English (69 KB)


Proceedings of RSPO events related to Smallholders

Impact Study of the Project on Sustainable Palm Oil Production for Bio-energy in Thailand
English (5 MB)
RSPO 2nd Smallholders Linking & Learning Workshop
English (222 KB)
Final Report - Baseline Study of the Oil Palm Smallholders in the Project Areas in Thailand
English (5 MB)
Workshop on Facilitating RSPO Certification of Independent Smallholders (Nov 2011)
English (40 MB)