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Definition

More than 3 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% of total global palm oil production, making smallholders significant contributors towards a sustainable oil palm industry. They often have to cope with inadequate information and knowledge in growing palms and selling oil, while their yields are also typically relatively low.

Smallholders are farmers who grow oil palm, alongside with subsistence crops, where the family provides the majority of labour and the farm provides the principal source of income, and the planted oil palm area are is less than 50 hectares.

Smallholder Certification

RSPO certification helps smallholders increase yields, penetrate international markets, improve their livelihoods, and reduce the risk of land conversion. Certification is a symbol of credibility and proof of sustainable practice in operations.

Watch this video in Spanish, Thai, Indonesian, Bahasa Melayu

Benefits to smallholders

Improved
management practices

Better quality
fresh fruit bunches (FFB)

Increased yield
and access to markets

Steps towards certification:

Form a group and assign a manager, whether an individual or an entity
Develop an Internal Control System (ICS) for group management
Facilitate training to ensure compliance with RSPO Principles & Criteria
Join RSPO as a member
Once ready, the Group Manager can approach a Certification Body for auditing

For smallholders, certification can be a complicated exercise, requiring funding, training, and guidance. This is why the RSPO Smallholder Support Fund (RSSF) has been established to aid smallholders through the process.

Smallholder Certification in Numbers

(Source: Market Data, September 2019)

Independent
Smallholders

5,386

Scheme
Smallholders

146,897

Total
Smallholders

152,283

Independent
Smallholders Area (ha)

21,745

Scheme
Smallholders Area (ha)

326,673

Total
Smallholders Area (ha)

388,733

Independent Smallholders
FFB Certified (mt)

437,115

Scheme Smallholders
FFB Certified (mt)

5,615,526

Total Smallholders
FFB Certified (mt)

6,052,641

Total Global Certified Area (ha)

3,999,105

Total SH CSPO
(based on 20% OER)

1,210,528

% of SH CSPO
(againts global certified volume) ha

9.72%

No. of Certified Independent Smallholder Groups

26

Average Yield (FBB mt/ha/yr)

17.37

Total Global Certified CSPO (mt)

14,647,278

% of SH CSPO
(againts global volume) mt

8.26%

Testimonials from the field

Narno

A peek into the lives of Narno and his family under Amanah has not only transformed his life but other smallholders as well.

Rusman

Get to know Rusman, a member of smallholder association Amanah in Sumatra, who thrives as a successful smallholder.

Bachrun

A farmer from Java, Bachrun, recalls how joining Amanah has brought him and his family a brighter future.

Meet Jose Maria Madrid

Listen to Jose’s personal interview on how RSPO have transformed his life. Jose attended the EU RT 2016 in Milan recently to share his experience and challenges as a smallholder in Honduras.

Jose Maria Madrid at EU RT Milan 2016

Up Close & Personal with Jose at the Smallholders Panel session. The panel session, with representatives from Ghana, Honduras and Malaysia, zooms in on the smallholders’ realities.

Seed Change Tanzania

MoJo Velo Project created a short documentary on RSSF-supported Seed Change Tanzania. It shows how its high-yielding oil palm trees are putting smallholder farmers on the path out of poverty while protecting the Western Tanzanian environment.