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Monday, July 28, 2014

How Small Palm Farmers Gained Sustainability Certificate

Palm oil industry in Indonesia is often viewed in negative light, but not all stories are bad from this industry. Amanah, a palm farmer association, is the first smallholders group that gained the sustainability certificate in Indonesia. This group has accepted support from Sukanto Tanoto, owner of Asian Agri, as well as environmental organization such as WWF to gain the certification in year 2013. This is a great achievement in the world of palm oil plantation and industry in Indonesia.

Asian Agri Roles in Amanah Sustainability Certification

Amanah is an oil palm independent smallholder association based in Pelalawan area in Riau Province, which is also among the biggest locations for oil palm plantations in Indonesia. This smallholder association now houses as many as 350 small, independent farmers, with total plantation area of 765 hectares. This association is independent, which means the farmers in it have no association at all with palm oil industry companies, but Asian Agri has big roles in helping and supporting the association to earn the certificate.

The certificate itself is official, based on Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil scheme, in which the association would not be able to earn the certificate unless the farmers in it actually practice high quality and proper methods in planting and cultivating oil palms in their plantations. According to Sunarno, the head of the association who also received the certificate from Vice Minister, the farmers spent about 1.5 years before they were able to get the certificate. 4 months were spent for educating the farmers, and 1 year for going through audit process, while implementing the principles of sustainable farming.

Amanah got a lot of help especially from Asian Agri, Sukanto Tanoto’s palm oil company. The company was responsible in helping the farmers to get the right guidance of sustainable farming methods, so they can keep implementing the methods in the future.


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