Millions of people around the world depend on palm oil for their livelihood. Smallholder farmers produce 40% of the world's palm oil, but suffer from lower yields. The RSPO wants to support more smallholders to get RSPO certified in order to produce more oil using less land, raising level of income among poor farmers and reducing risk of land conversion which threatens forests and biodiversity. Smallholders who are certified to produce sustainable palm oil can benefit from an improved access to markets. The RSPO provides funding to support smallholders in gaining certification and to make this happen.
Recognition of regional differences
National Interpretation, Local Interpretation and small producing countries will determine how the RSPO Guidance on Scheme Smallholders (July 2009) can be applied to independent smallholders and schemed smallholders as well as out-growers in their respective locations but can use the above generic definitions as a guide.
Specifically the National Interpretation processes (including Local Interpretation and small producing countries) will need to adopt a working definition for smallholders in their countries and if desired subdivide these into independent, schemed or associated.
Definitions of smallholder and out-growers
The original definition of out-growers and smallholders was stated in the RSPO Principles &Criteria for Sustainable Palm Oil Production (2007) as:
The RSPO Guidance on Scheme Smallholders (July 2009) further recognized:
There is no generic definition on Associated Smallholders as yet. However, a definition can be taken from the Papua New Guinea National Interpretations document, which states that Associated Smallholders“…share some of the characteristics of independent smallholders, notably in terms of land use and management decisions, and yet are closely linked to particular mills for marketing and extension.”
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