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Posted on Oct 11, 06:03PM | IBNS
Thailand became the first country in the world to have independent smallholders as RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) Certified which comprises a community of 412 smallholders over 2,767.33 hectares of planted land.
These independent smallholders will now have an opportunity to trade approximately 52,000 mt of certified sustainable Fresh Fruit Bunches (FFB), generating an estimated 10,000 mt of certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO).
Currently, the total annual production capacity of RSPO certified sustainable FFB is approximately 36 million metric tonnes globally.
The international multi stakeholder organization and certification scheme for sustainable palm oil, RSPO, has been collaborating closely with major producing countries around the world to build capacity amongst independent smallholders in the past few years.
This was a pressing priority after the successful certification of schemed smallholders in Malaysia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.
Darrel Webber, Secretary General of RSPO, said: "As the third largest producer of crude palm oil (CPO) in the world, over 70pc of oil palm in Thailand is produced by independent smallholders.
"The primary challenges for smallholders to become certified include lack of awareness on benefits of being certified; funding support and lack of expertise or capacity building. To this end, the RSPO is committed to mobilizing strategic initiatives aimed at addressing these primary issues."
Daniel May, Project Manager at GIZ, an organization funded by the German government to accelerate sustainable palm oil production amongst smallholders in Thailand, commented, "The German government, in particular German Federal Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) will continue to demonstrate support in enabling smallholders around the world towards sustainability according to internationally set standards.
"The certification of independent smallholders was contributed by GIZ in the form of training services on best management practices such as seed selection, fertiliser application; proper health, safety and environment practices. Thailand is certainly raising the bar in its commitment to sustainable palm oil."
The National Interpretation for Thailand for Smallholders developed by the Thai National Interpretation Working Group (Thai NI WG) has been approved by the RSPO.
The Thai NI WG has worked since 2010 to develop the document involving 21 representatives from Academics, grower/ farmer representatives, refineries and biodiesel plants, palm oil crushing mills, NGOSs, Government and Association.
This now enables independent smallholders in Thailand to be audited and certified against the standard.
As of now, 14pc of world's palm oil production is RSPO certified.
The current estimated annual production capacity of RSPO-certified sustainable palm oil is 7.2 million metric tonnes, approximately 14 percent of global palm oil production.
Spread over 1.6 million hectares of certified area - 45.5pc of the world's current RSPO-certified sustainable palm oil production capacity comes from Indonesia; followed by 44.7pc from Malaysia; with the remaining 9.8pc from Papua New Guinea; Solomon Islands; Brazil; Colombia and Ivory Coast.
RSPO is a not-for-profit association that unites stakeholders from seven sectors of the palm oil industry - oil palm producers, palm oil processors or traders, consumer goods manufacturers, retailers, banks and investors, environmental or nature conservation NGOs and social or developmental NGOs - to develop and implement global standards for sustainable palm oil.