ISPO Implementation in Palm Oil Smallholders Still Considered Slow

Palm Oil Magazine
Doc. Sawit Fest 2021 / Ruri Milandu / Palm oil plantation illustration

PALMOILMAGAZINE, JAKARTA –. Step by step, smallholders have begun implementing sustainable palm oil practices through the ISPO scheme. Although it posed initial challenges, with the support and assistance from regional government bodies and plantation companies, they successfully navigated every stage of the process, which includes the pre-audit, audit, and, eventually, being declared as having met the criteria to receive the ISPO certificate.

In the early months of 2023, several smallholders obtained the ISPO certificate. As an example, in the Subdistrict of Muara Wahau, District of Kutai Timur, East Kalimantan Province, five cooperatives achieved this feat. Notably, Koperasi Produsen Perkebunan Persada Engkersik Lestari collaborated with independent smallholders in the Village of Engkersik, Subdistrict of Sekadau, West Kalimantan Province, and similar achievements were realized by others as well.

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The cooperation would be the description that smallholders are always encouraged to immediately implement ISPO certification. Unfortunately, many smallholders’ cooperation, institutions do not get it still. Compared to palm oil plantation ownership in Indonesia, the smallholders have had 41 of the total plantations in Indonesia that laid 16,38 million hectares.

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Quoting from the official page of Forum Petani Kelapa Sawit Berkelanjutan Indonesia (Fortasbi) as the institution that develops smallholders having ISPO and Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certificates, smallholders that got sustainable certificates are only in seven provinces, they are, North Sumatera, Riau, Jambi, South Sumatera, West Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, and Central Kalimantan. Total smallholders that got it reached about 15 thousand in 51 groups with the total palm oil plantations that laid about 33 thousand hectares or only 0,2% only.

It is beyond expectation knowing that the smallholders’ palm oil plantations laid about 6,5 million hectares. Of course, this would be the big work for the governments, both the central and regional ones to escalate ISPO scheme. The President’s Regulation Number 44 / 2020 about ISPO Certification System mandates that the smallholders are obliged to implement sustainable practices according to ISPO principles and criteria in 2025 or it is only 2 years to go.

Secretary of ISPO Commission, Herdradjat Natawidjaja said that to accelerate ISPO implementation for smallholders, terms and conditions in ISPO get simplified. There are only four conditions, such as, the first, Cultivation Documents; the second, evidence (document) of land ownership; the third, documents of internal control system (ICS); and the fourth, statement of environment control.

Though the terms and conditions get simplified, the fact showed that everything was not simple. The other issue for the smallholders to consider is that the costs to get certification. Herdrajat told, the government provides fund to get ISPO process through infrastructure program and smallholders could propose to related agencies in districts/cities.

“When a cooperation proposed it, it should be for agency in district. Learn the condition and get fund to get ISPO certification process,” he said. (*)

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