Pathways to sustainability for small holders

Helping small holders adopt sustainable production practices will not just improve their livelihoods, but also lead to more sustainable outcomes.
Researchers, environmental activists and industry players have realized that the way forward in the palm oil industry is to achieve sustainability. (JP/Budhi Button)
Researchers, environmental activists and industry players have realized that the way forward in the palm oil industry is to achieve sustainability. (JP/Budhi Button)

Independent small holders – small farmers not linked to a company or mill manage about a quarter of Indonesia’s palm oil plantations. As of 2017, less than 1 % of these farms were certified as sustainable by RSPO. Unsustainable cultivation has led to deforestation, loss of biodiversity and increased greenhouse gas emissions. Helping small holders adopt sustainable production practices will not just improve their livelihoods, but also lead to more sustainable outcomes.

In Singapore, a hackaton is being held on April 20,21 by Grow Asia. A team from PM Haze attended a pre-hackathon workshop on April 12. Established by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with the ASEAN Secretariat, Grow Asia brings together companies, governments, NGOs, and other stakeholders to help smallholder farmers.

Grow Asia Hackathon 2018 aims to highlight the challenges facing 100 million smallholder farmers in Southeast Asia. Its goal is to develop practical strategies for helping small holders access information, credit, and services and adopt more sustainable farming practices.

The Hackathon addresses four challenges facing the palm oil industry:

  1. Data sharing – The challenge is how to design a data application or platform and an appropriate business model, sharing and or using provenance or traceability data, for the mutual benefit of the ecosystem actors as well as the smallholders.
  2. Productivity- The challenge is to provide the right information and training to smallholders to facilitate productivity and efficiency, promoting sustainable intensification of their plantations.
  3. Financing – The challenge is devising a new credit scoring mechanism for banks or commodity buyers to extend credit to smallholder farmers based on reliable data about their crops, on-farm behaviours and investments.
  4. Logistics – The challenge is improving access to price and other information, so smallholders can make informed decisions on when and to whom they sell FFB. An additional challenge is enabling transport providers to be more efficient in organising and coordinating deliveries of agriculture inputs and FFB in an area.

The hackathon’s focus is to explore how the data, already collected by various ecosystem actors, can be used to achieve better efficiency and productivity and demonstrate how data sharing can be done at scale.

PM Haze will be following the developments to explore how we get more engaged with these solutions to small holders sustainability.