Accelerating ISPO Certification for Independent Oil Palm Smallholders through a Jurisdictional Approach

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Chairman of the Palm Oil Smallholders Union (SPKS), Sabarudin said that to overcome this challenge, an inclusive and accessible approach is needed for palm oil smallholders. Photo by: SPKS for Palmoilmagazine.com

PALMOILMAGAZINE, JAKARTA – The National Action Plan for Sustainable Palm Oil (NAP SPO) which has been running until 2024, provides a mandate for the Central Government and Regional Governments, to carry out a series of efforts to improve governance with action plan program services and financed through APBN, APBD instruments, and multi-stakeholder cooperation support.

Although in reality, the adoption of the policy of the KSB Action Plan at the regional level is still very minimal, to date only 9 provinces and 19 districts have stipulated the policy.

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As a result, the existence of Indonesia Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) certification has stagnated, only about 0.3 percent of the national oil palm plantation area can do it. Various efforts made by the Government in collaboration with various parties have become the main drivers of ISPO certification for oil palm smallholders. The idea of a juridical approach is one option, to accelerate the ISPO certification process for national oil palm plantations.

Also Read: A Jurisdictional Approach to Address ISPO Certification Funding for Palm Oil Smallholders

According to Assistant Deputy for Plantation Agribusiness Development, Eddy Yusuf, ISPO certification for oil palm smallholders, especially independent smallholders, can be encouraged by the Central Government and Regional Governments (Pemda), in collaboration with other stakeholders. This is because ISPO certification is part of the government’s commitment to sustainable palm oil.

“Support from the government and other stakeholders is needed to accelerate ISPO certification,” Eddy said at a workshop with the theme “Best Practices for Sustainable Plantations Based on a Jurisdictional Approach”, organized by SPKS and Kaleka, Thursday (20/6/2024) in Jakarta.

Government support through the Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture (Kementan) is also provided for the acceleration of farmer certification. The Ministry of Agriculture, together with the regional Plantation Office, is trying to encourage improvements in the management and cultivation practices of oil palm plants for smallholders in the regions. Efforts are also made to collaborate with other stakeholders, in order to produce sustainable palm oil.

According to the Director of Processing and Marketing of Plantation Products (PPHBun), Prayudi Syamsuri, in order to support the demand for palm oil that continues to grow 7.3% and the pressure for sustainable palm oil practices is getting tighter, the government launched the Sawit Satu strategy, namely by implementing the People’s Palm Oil Replanting (PSR), which is supported by a budget from the Palm Oil Plantation Fund Management Agency (BPDPKS).

Also Read: SPKS Drives ISPO Certification Acceleration for Smallholders in Siak, Riau Province

Then encouraging ISPO Implementation, the improvement of Facilities and Infrastructure (Sarpras) can be utilized to improve the necessary infrastructure in oil palm plantations. Also provide a scholarship budget of 3000 for children of oil palm smallholders. “Including the issuance of the National Action Plan for Sustainable Palm Oil (RAN KSB) is the government’s commitment to support the sustainability of the palm oil sector,” he said.

Prayudi further said that the jurisdictional approach is an area that is determined with certain boundaries both politically and administratively. The area within the jurisdiction will be assessed for compliance and fulfillment of the principles and criteria to obtain ISPO certification. CPO produced within these boundaries can be considered to have complied with the ISPO standard. “The jurisdictional approach can be an opportunity to encourage the acceleration of ISPO certification, especially at the smallholder level,” Prayudi said.

In line with the government’s efforts, the Kaleka Foundation (formerly Inobu) initiated a juridical approach to accelerate ISPO certification. Bernadinus Steni Sugiarto from the Kaleka Foundation said that if the certification process is carried out with less than 500 smallholders, the cost of certification will be expensive, reaching above US$ 170 per farmer. Meanwhile, if the scale of the certification process is expanded to more than 2000 smallholders, the cost of sustainable palm oil certification can be reduced to a minimum of less than US$ 50 per farmer.

Also Read: SPKS Requests Acceleration of ISPO Certification Funding from BPDPKS

Therefore, to overcome these challenges, a more holistic and coordinated approach is needed. One proposed solution is to scale up certification to cover more smallholders in one process. By expanding coverage, the cost per farmer can be significantly reduced, making it more affordable for all parties.

In addition, policy interventions are also needed to reduce the costs associated with the certification process. This includes subsidies for farmer capacity building, land mapping, establishment of farmer organizations, and legalities. Thus, the certification process can become more efficient and equitable for all stakeholders involved.

Various supports for the acceleration of ISPO are also part of the work of the Union of Oil Palm Smallholders (SPKS) which always encourages farmer organization, improved governance and sustainable cultivation practices.

Chairman of the Palm Oil Smallholders Union (SPKS), Sabarudin said that to overcome this challenge, an inclusive and accessible approach is needed for palm oil smallholders. One of the proposed solutions is a holistic approach known as territorial or jurisdictional certification. This approach allows for the acceleration of ISPO certification by involving the government and various related parties.

“Currently, policies in the Indonesian plantation sector already exist to support sustainable development, including policies related to ISPO and NAP-SPO, as well as efforts to prepare RAD KSB at the regional level,” Sabarudin said.

Furthermore, Sabarudin said, there are still gaps in achievements and outputs, especially in the regional and environmental context.

Therefore, SPKS emphasizes the importance of formulating a comprehensive regional approach to create a sustainable district. This includes an inventory of all social, economic and environmental aspects within the region, as well as action planning and supporting institutional systems.

An example of the implementation of a territorial approach is the comprehensive data collection of smallholders in a region, who are then collectively certified. This approach ensures that no single farmer is marginalized from the certification process. A thorough evaluation of the condition of the area, including the identification of degraded, medium, and stable areas, is also part of this approach.

“The solutions we propose are no longer merely technocratic, but responsive and accountable, supporting palm oil governance that is in line with the needs of concrete changes at the site level,” Sabarudin said. (P3)

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