Mr. Salahuddin Yacob, Technical Advisor from RSPO, said, “In Thailand, there are over 4,200,000 palm oil farms owned and managed by smallholders who are responsible for producing approximately 70 percent of the total volume of Thailand’s palm oil production. The RSPO intends to have smallholders certified in order to assist them to improve yields and raise more income levels while reduce the risk of lands conversion and safeguarding forest and diversity,”
“In addition, a heightened awareness of sustainability and the rise of ethical consumerism possess a strong influence on market demands and purchasing patterns in today’s economy. Compliance with the global RSPO standard is necessary for Thai farmers because many Thai and foreign corporations would select partners that have been RSPO certified during the procurement process. It is envisaged that incorporating RSPO certification into practices will help Thai farmers to maintain and or maximize palm oil trade to other countries,” Mr. Yacob said.
Mr. Chaowalit Wutipong, Chairman of the Community Enterprise For The Production Of Sustainably Grown Palm Oil in Krabi province, said that the benefits of RSPO certification provides smallholders with extensive knowledge on best agricultural practices, technical knowhow and skills in plantation management. RSPO certified palm oil can sell at higher rates when compared to general production, while helping ensure environments and communities are sustained responsibly. It also ensures Thai palm oil industry is prepared to be ready for the upcoming AEC.
“RSPO audits ensure that our group is able to achieve a higher yield of approximately 4 metric tons per 1,600 Square meters as a result of better knowledge of more robust farm management practices, proper planning and correct usage of fertilizer. The importance of RSPO benefits is to help reduce costs and increase palm oil product to gain more income,” Mr.Chaowalit said.
As a not-for-profit association, the RSPO unites stakeholders from the seven sectors of the palm oil industry, namely oil palm producers, processors or traders, consumer goods manufacturers, retailers, banks/investors, environmental and social non-governmental organizations, to develop and implement global standards for sustainable palm oil. These standards are based on economic, social and environmental principles. For economic benefits at the national level, investments in renewable energy by the public sector are important in helping drive energy security. For environmental benefits, RSPO is a long-term development strategy which adapts sustainability principles and encourages proper land use, non-deforestation and reduction in CO2 emissions. For social benefits, RSPO provides new knowledge for farmers that can contribute towards business development and strengthening relations between palm growers and mills by sharing the same standard of management practices.
Mr. Sanin shared with the farmers during the certification ceremony, “We hope this project will set the standard for Thailand’s palm oil industry to coordinate and drive its growth in a sustainable industry way, especially to expand to more small holders to achieve RSPO certification which will help drive up the percentage of smallholders RSPO certification in Thailand. This ultimately will help palm oil products to compete in the global market and help smallholders increase their personal income and have a good quality of life through increased profits and better environmental practices.”