Writer: Prangthong Jitcharoenkul, Junior Communication Officer, GIZ Thailand’s Agriculture and Food Cluster
Local oil palm small-scale farmers in Krabi province stand to significantly benefit from a memorandum of understanding (MoU) they have signed with the palm oil mills February this year.
Kanokwan Saswattecha, project manager of the Sustainable and Climate-friendly Palm Oil Production and Procurement (SCPOPP) in Thailand said the collaboration will create a trust-worthy partnership to mainstream sustainable palm oil production and promote responsible sourcing practices among local oil palm producers across the supply chain.
Thailand is the third largest palm oil producing countries in the world. However, only two per cent of palm oil production in the country is ‘sustainably produced’.
To unleash farmers’ potential in producing palm oil more responsibly, the Thai government has been working closely with German International Organization (GIZ) towards the sustainability goals through the SCPOPP project.
“Sustainable development has become an essential for all businesses, including palm oil sector. Palm oil buyers in the global market should therefore tighten their policy on sustainable palm oil sourcing,” said Ms. Kanokwan.
For the small-scale oil palm farmers, a jurney of achieving sustainable palm oil production without any support or incentive is difficult and absolutely inattractive to take-off, she added.
The MoU was signed on 21 Febrary 2020 at Krabi Provincial Administration Office by seven collaborative groups of oil palm small-scale farmers and four palm oil mills in Krabi province, one of Thailand’s major oil palm producing areas.
About 300 participants had attended the event, including executives from Thaiindo Palm Oil Factory, P.Panit Rung Rueng Palm Oil 2, Srijaroen Palm Oil and Asian Palm Oil.
According to the MoU, farmers’ groups will be well-prepared for RSPO certification, covering the linkage and knowledge-sharing between farmers, higher prices for sustainably-grown oil palm and fertilizers sold at a lower price.
During the peak season, farmers can access the “Fast Track Lane” and free service on leave and soil analysis.
Collaborative groups of oil palm farmers and the mills in Surat Thani and Chumporn provinces are execpted to follow suit in the near future.