The Smallholders Fates are In EUDR

Palm Oil Magazine
Doc. / Rukaiyah Rafik, Senior Advisor of Forum Petani Kelapa Sawit Berkelanjutan Indonesia (Fortasbi)

PALMOILMAGAZINE, JAKARTA – European Union Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) was published to protect environment but should not be the regulation that buries independent smallholders’ hope to implement sustainable palm oil practices.

For European Union, palm oil is important commodity though the continent imported 4 million tons in every year or equal to 25% of the total exports from Indonesia that reached 25,01 million tons in total. In 2022 palm oil product imports to European Union decreased to be 23%. It might happen for EUDR publication.

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Though the numbers decreased, European Union wanted to make sure that the products they consumed should be free and deriving from sustainable practices and not damaging the forests. The publication of EUDR is the evidence of commitment of the countries that they are not playing. Of course, it needs appreciation because our forest damages have been at the critical point.

When EUDR was approved on 6 December 2022, the question remained, what about smallholders namely the independent ones that mastered 41% of palm oil plantations in Indonesia? 41% means the smallholders are contributing to palm oil production in the world. Though there is no accurate data about certain percentage they contributed in European markets, EUDR as the policy that many countries in the continent approved, would directly deliver impacts for independent smallholders. They would be put aside in European Union trade scheme.

Also Read : A Critical Review of Government Regulation Number 38/2023: Assessing Palm Oil Plantation Profit Sharing Policies

The dependence with industries, knowledge capacity, weak supports, middlemen existence, are the serious issues that independent smallholders face. This condition is contrary with EUDR terms and conditions that should confirm that the products to be sold in the continent should be passing due diligence applying EUDR. The main conditions are traceability and legal.

EUDR would immediately run and big companies are preparing the terms and conditions. Some focus to improve traceability data, some proposed special mill to produce products according to the terms and conditions in EUDR. What about independent smallholders that mastered 41% of total palm oil plantations in Indonesia?

At this point, they only wait for their fate that the markets would determine. They could do nothing because they are only fresh fruit bunch (FFB) traders, not CPO ones, namely palm kernel oil (PKO) traders. Their fate is determined not only by the markets but also the industries.

Actually, the independent smallholders want to contribute to protect and recover the environment, such as, 15 thousand independent smallholders involved in sustainable practices through RSPO and ISPO schemes though being not easy to get. But the numbers of independent smallholders that got certificate increase in every year. They got many advantages from the schemes, such as, the reinforcement of institution to the increasing production because of cultivation improvement though in the end RSPO and ISPO could be a consideration to sell their products in European Union.

By: Rukaiyah Rafik/Senior Advisor of Forum Petani Kelapa Sawit Berkelanjutan Indonesia (Fortasbi)

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