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Thailand, the third largest producer of crude palm oil in the world, gets 70% of its palm oil from independent smallholders. This was also the first producer in the world to have its independent smallholders RSPO-certified under the RSPO Group Certification. As of 2015, this smallholder initiative just keeps on growing.
The certification of the first three independent smallholder groups in Thailand was supported by GIZ, an organization funded by the German government, together with United Palm Oil Industry Corporation, Thaksin Palm Oil Limited, Suksomboon Palm Oil Ltd and Univanich Palm Oil PCL. These RSPO pioneers contributed major funding, extensive resources and ongoing training in support of the world's first groups of independent smallholders to achieve RSPO Certification, back in 2012.
Recently, another group,supported with Shell Thailand and Patum Vegetable Oil Ltd. Following a 3-year project by Shell Thailand and Patum Vegetable Oil Ltd, 797 smallholders and five palm oil mills from 4 provinces in the South of Thailand were certified. The support was in the form of training services on best management practices such as seed selection, fertiliser application, proper health, safety and environment practices.
The project’s aim was to improve domestic palm oil production that emphasises social and environmental responsibility throughout the supply chain. The experience generated from this success and the model was emulated for subsequent initiatives.
Thailand has to date certified 10 independent smallholder groups, comprising 1,150 individual smallholders over 6,626 hectares of production area, with an estimated production close to 32,000 metric tonnes of Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO). This marks a significant milestone for Thailand as the producer with the largest volume of CSPO from independent smallholders worldwide.