Malaysia: Cargill launches sustainable palm oil project
Cargill, in partnership with Malaysian-based social enterprise Wild Asia and the international non-governmental organisation, Solidaridad, are launching an innovative independent oil palm smallholder sustainability support program in Malaysia. The three-year program will provide technical assistance, training and capacity building to over 2,500 independent oil palm smallholders.
It is one of the first programs in Malaysia that is focused on sustainable palm oil production through partnerships with independent smallholders, palm oil dealers, mills and refiners. The goal is to help smallholders employ sustainable palm oil production practices, to bring about higher oil palm fruit yields and increase farmer incomes.
The program is in line with the government’s efforts to help smallholders and independent millers meet sustainable palm oil production standards in Malaysia. Smallholders in the state of Perak will receive direct training and support on best agricultural practices and improved farm management practices covering key areas of health and safety, and environmental and social impact management.
Wild Asia, through what is called the Wild Asia Group Scheme (WAGS), will provide technical management to support and certify the independent smallholders to RSPO standards. This new project will mean that WAGS will be operating in over four regions of Malaysia. “We recognize that working with smallholders in Malaysia and implementing our scheme will be our biggest challenge but we are committed to work with our partners to undertake this noble task,” said Dr Reza Azmi, executive director of Wild Asia. “We understand that there is a clear gap in the supply chain for sustainable palm oil production. We look forward to building innovative partnerships between refiners, millers and their smallholders and to help close this gap.”
In Malaysia, there are around 177,000 (according to the Malaysian Palm Oil Board) independent oil palm smallholders with a total planted area of 692,000 hectares (14% of Malaysia’s total oil palm planted area in 2012). These smallholders play a significant role in the rural development and economic progress of the country.
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