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As part of the North America Sustainable Palm Oil Dialogue, one of the panels will be discussing the very important topic of smallholders as a part of global sustainability efforts. Although North American companies may be far away both geographically and often being at the end of the supply chain, they still have an important role to play.
Cameron Plese, the US Representative for the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) spoke with Prerna Chatterjee, who will be speaking on the panel title Smallholders: How do I get involved from North America. Prerna is the Marketing Manager for Sustainability for Personal and Home Care for BASF. She has led the efforts in North America transitioning BASF’s palm containing personal care portfolio to 100% RSPO certified sustainable by 2018.
Why is it important to support smallholders? What are some of the challenges that smallholders face in their sustainable palm oil journey?
More than three million smallholders and small-scale farmers make a living from palm oil globally. While their farmlands are small compared to industrial plantations, smallholders account for about 40 percent of total global palm oil production making them significant contributors towards a sustainable oil palm industry. But smallholders continue to suffer from lower yields as they often have to cope with inadequate information and knowledge in growing palms and selling oil. No palm sustainability progress can be effective without considering smallholders as a crucial part of the palm value chain.
How do you see North American based companies playing a role in supporting smallholders?
Partnerships in terms of smallholder projects will enable companies to support these farmers and at the same time increase the availability of sustainably produced palm oil. One way this can be done is by offering continuous education and technical support on implementing and maintaining sustainable palm oil practices and to foster a sustainable palm oil production supply chain that is free from deforestation. This will make smallholders competitive in the global market, while increasing the social and economic benefits for farmers.
Learn more and register for the North America Sustainable Palm Oil Dialogue: