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Palm oil's big issue: Smallholders

November 23, 2015

Palm oil's big issue: Smallholders

By Vaidehi Shah
Monday 23 November 2015

If the palm oil sector wants to be environmentally and socially responsible, big businesses have to help smallholder farmers adopt sustainable cultivation methods, said industry members and financiers at the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) annual conference on Wednesday.

By offering smallholders the training, resources, and administrative support they need to improve their agricultural practices and obtain RSPO’s certification for sustainable palm oil, companies can help reduce environmental impact across the industry and improve farmers’ lives in the process.

At the industry association’s annual roundtable conference, held at the Shangri-La Hotel in Kuala Lumpur from 16 to 19 November, Kelvin Tio, managing director of Indonesian palm oil giant Asian Agri, noted that “smallholders are vital to the industry, and there are lots of opportunities to improve their yield and income”.

RSPO and its member firms already have ongoing smallholder support initiatives, but the industry can do much more to integrate these farmers into the sustainable global supply chain, noted panellists at a discussion about these independent growers.

Read more at Eco-Business.

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