The Indonesian government has announced a requirement for smallholder

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  • 29 Apr 2020
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Indonesia Eyes Sustainability Certification for Oil Palm Smallholders

The Indonesian government has announced a requirement for smallholder palm oil farmers to seek sustainable certification alongside larger companies. Major plantation companies are already required to be certified under the Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) scheme, in an effort to counter longstanding associations between Indonesian palm oil and deforestation, land disputes and labour rights abuses. Now, smallholder farmers, defined as those with farms smaller than 25 hectares (62 acres), will also have to seek certification, under a regulation updating the ISPO standard and signed by the president in March. They will have five years in which to comply. Indonesia’s smallholder farmers manage 40 per cent of the total oil palm plantation in the country. The main bureaucratic snag stopping smallholder farmers from being certified is the lack of title to their land. If the problem of illegal plantations is not solved by the 2025 deadline, then the new ISPO will be “a curse” for small farmers, according to Gulat Manurung, the chairman of the Indonesian Oil Palm Farmers Association.

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