Thailand’s first roadshow event held in Surat Thani last month exceeded expectations, attracting many more attendees than anticipated - with 224 participants over the two-day event, of which, 206 were smallholders including representatives from five non-member independent smallholder groups. The event brought together stakeholders from all levels of the palm oil supply chain to increase awareness on the Roundtable on Sustainable on Palm Oil and how its certification programme works.
Key stakeholders contribute to inclusive and dynamic panel discussions
Day one of the roadshow kicked-off with an introduction to RSPO and its impacts, followed by a vibrant panel discussion entitled, ‘Thailand policies overview on Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) and how it aligns with RSPO Certification’. The discussion outlined Thailand’s governmental policies regarding CSPO and how the government can play a larger role in advocating for RSPO certification, by enabling international market access. The panel discussion was moderated by Dr Sutonya Thongrak, Prince of Songkla University and key contributors to the panel included Dr Krit Lamthanon, Secretariat of Thai National Palm Oil Board, Mrs Malinee Yuwananonta, Department of Agricultural Extension Thailand and Salahudin Yaacob, RSPO Technical Director.
The afternoon session proceeded with a presentation by Jan van Driel, RSPO Head of Certification, providing an overview of RSPO certification and its processes. Khing Su Li, Biodiversity Manager for RSPO also presented a segment on the New Planting Procedure (NPP). The afternoon was wrapped up with group ‘clinic sessions’, where attendees were encouraged to ask questions about the RSPO certification process and smallholder programmes.
Attendees learn about RSPO membership and benefits
Day two commenced with sharing information about RSPO membership and its benefits, as well as Land Use Change Analysis (LUCA) requirements and the Annual Communication of Progress (ACOP) report. Due to a large number of smallholder participants, a session was dedicated to the benefits of RSPO certification for smallholders. This session was led by Thitinai Piripongyakit, RSPO Thailand Liaison and featured videos of success stories of local RSPO-certified smallholders. These videos received tremendous attention, generating many questions from the participants.
Smallholders in attendance then shared their own personal success stories with other attendees. Mr Solos Dechmanee, Chairman, Community Enterprise group, Surat Thani and Mrs Sukanya Srisubat, Group Manager, Tapi-Ipun Community Enterprise both shared their journey to RSPO-certification and exchanged information with other participants.
Major palm oil companies commit to buying CSPO produced in Thailand
A highlight of day two was the firm commitment to RSPO smallholders in Thailand from Mr Asanee Mallamphut, Managing Director of Morakot Industries PCL. “Morakot Industries is willing to make the pledge to buy CSPO from every smallholder that is RSPO-certified. We don’t have enough CSPO in the market and Morakot Industries is willing to make this pledge to encourage smallholders in Thailand to be RSPO certified,” said Mr Asanee Mallamphut.
Mr Sanin Triyanond, Director of Patum Vegetable Oil Co., added that he hopes to see more participation from suppliers in the next roadshow event and will do his best to encourage more traders, consumer good manufacturers, retailers and more to attend.
Roadshow marks a promising future for sustainable palm oil in Thailand
Events like this are needed to help bring stakeholders from all sectors of the palm oil industry together for better collaboration. The RSPO hopes to host a second roadshow in Thailand in early 2018 to target consumer goods manufacturers, retailers, processors, traders and more.
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