The Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC) recently held a webinar to highlight the importance of promoting good agricultural practices of small holder farmers in the Asia Pacific, Central Latin America and Africa. The CPOPC provides a platform for smallholder networks to share their experience and knowledge and learn from each other.
Addressing these opportunities through a webinar, was Kepson Puspita, a representative of oil palm smallholders from Papua New Guinea, Djono Albar Burhan, a representative of the oil palm smallholders in Indonesia and Dupito D. Simamora, CPOPC Deputy Executive Director.
A panel was assembled, consisting of eminent personalities from all areas of the palm oil cultivation process – planters, business and academia – to provide views, opinions and assessments of the global palm oil cultivation landscape. The speakers presented all topics relating to smallholder sustainability, sharing real stories, real-life issues and experiences. The webinar showcased a number of good agricultural practices that can be implemented in Sri Lanka, going forward, and presented a number of reasons as to how the cultivation of palm oil can be sustainable, environmentally friendly, boost national growth, and ensure further economic stability.
Sharing his expertise on palm oil production In Indonesia, Djono Albar Burhan from The International Relations and People Development Department in Indonesia-Oil Palm Smallholder Association, touched on the benefits to smallholders through good agricultural practices. Looking at the economic and welfare impacts of Palm oil production in Indonesia, Mr. Burhan stated that Indonesia consists of 16.38 million hectares with smallholder farmers owning a big percentage of palm oil land. Palm oil is a big player, relied on by millions of people across Indonesia, contributing to 3.5% of their GDP, significantly improving the rural economies. He further stated that in October 2019, the price of Fresh fruit branches (FFP) was USD 0.11 per kilo for smallholders in average, and as of October 2021, the price increased up to USD 0.20 per kilo, thereby positively affecting smallholders allowing them to further implement good agricultural practices.
Mr. Burhan spoke of the smallholder program managed by the Government of Indonesia, which provides 30 million rupiah per hectare to smallholders across Indonesia for a replanting program to switch from old palm oil trees to new ones. He mentioned that the benefit of the replanting program is that it is integral towards increasing the implementation of biofuels, which in turn requires an adequate supply of fresh fruit branches (FFB). In a bid to increase domestic palm oil consumption, the Indonesian government’s usage of biodiesel entered the B30 phase in 2018. Currently ‘B30’ absorbs 10 million of CPO, therefore, to reach B40, increased productivity of smallholders is required. Another important agricultural practice Mr. Burhan spoke of is followed by smallholders in Indonesia, which is improving the intensification versus the extensification. Intensification has a huge potential to increase palm oil yields by optimizing production and productivity without opening more land for cultivation. Addressing these needs creates a huge opportunity to produce more palm oil through an intensification program.
Also sharing his experience, Azmi Hassan – Deputy President of National Association of Smallholders Malaysia touched on the role of supply and demand in palm oil cultivation contributing towards economic growth.
Mr. Hassan explained that the development of palm oil in Malaysia is strongly supported by the government and is based on a policy that helps small holder farmers improve their welfare in turn reducing poverty levels in the country. Smallholders are given a small plot of land as part of an organized model financed by the government allowing them to start palm oil production.
He further mentioned that in order to increase the oil palm yield, good planting material is required for then which you will obtain a good FFB which you can sell to the mill and obtain the maximum oil which in return increases sustainable power production. All smallholders operate under a licensed model which they have to buy from the licensed nursery operator. He highlighted that in Malaysia there are 840 industry operators licensed under MPOB and under the licensing regulation nursery, important legitimacy of land is a requirement.
Sharing his expertise on good agricultural practices, Mr. Hassan emphasized on the importance of good fertilizer practice which in turn ensures good agricultural practices. For this, soil conservation needs to be carried out to ensure efficient fertilizer usage thereby reducing soil erosion and sludge deposit in ditches which in return result in water contamination due to pesticides. It is important to use fertilizer recommended procedural agricultural practices to obtain maximum benefit and minimize nutrient loss. Further, in Malaysia zero manning practices and the policy on those common practices by smaller connected under the national environment act no burning is permitted.
The next webinar organised by CPOPC “Smallholders- Drivers of Prosperity and Sustainabilty” will be held on 14th December 2021 at 3pm CET. The Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC) aims to continue engaging the palm oil industry to present the importance and benefits brought about by palm oil cultivation, including the empowerment of smallholder farmers and the securing of the livelihoods, thereby reducing poverty by enhancing the national GDP. Highlights of the speeches focused on the development of sustainable palm oil in Sri Lanka, emphasizing the need to provide support for oil palm smallholders from stakeholders which include the Governments of palm oil producing countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia. The forum was organized with the intention of sharing the voices of the small holder farmers who are the fundamental players of the palm oil industry, thereby allowing for other countries to adopt such practices.