More yield through more sustainable production of palm oil – GFA supports FONAP project for small farmers in Malaysia

GFA Certification GmbH and other FONAP members support a small holder project in Malaysia. Selected small farmers in Malaysia will be better integrated into the global palm oil supply chains. In this way, GFA and other members of the FONAP are actively supporting the promotion of more sustainable farming methods in Palmoil producing countries. The new phase lasts one year and is carried out as part of a cooperation between FONAP and WWF Germany and the Malaysian NGO Wild Asia.

One goal is the training of small farmers in their use of more sustainable cultivation methods, such as the use of organic fertiliser. For this purpose, demonstration plots on plantations are to be set up for training purposes.

Another goal is the traceability of palm oil along global supply chains to the plantation, which is a major challenge and is the second core issue of the project. The aim is to promote transparency along the supply chain (from the cultivated area to the oil mill) by means of a mobile app. For this purpose,  Koltiva’s PalmoilTrace  –  FarmGate app is used by a test group of certified smallholders and traders for weighing and recording harvest quantities.

“The FONAP members are very much looking forward to continuing to work with WWF and Wild Asia. The use of digital technologies, with which we are taking a big step forward together, seems to be particularly promising. Digitalization in agriculture is an important development field,” says FONAP CEO Almut Feller.

The cooperation partner Wild Asia already has several years of experience in supporting small farmers in Malaysia and Indonesia. Wild Asia also successfully uses IT solutions such as cloud platforms and mobile apps in its work. Dr. Reza Azmi, Director of Wild Asia, explains:

“With the app, we can record transactions from certified small producers and palm oil retailers. This makes the traceability of certified palm oil complete. We will train the use to enable their application even for a growing group of producers.”

The second phase of the FONAP project builds on the experience of the first phase. The first phase of the project lasted from July 2018 to June 2019 and was implemented in the Perak/Malaysia region.

The aim of the first phase of the project was to obtain feedback on the basis on the four additional criteria of FONAP and to test their applicability and feasibility for small farmers. Additional criteria include:

– stopping cultivation on peatsoils and other areas with a high carbon content,

– stopping the use of highly dangerous pesticides,

– Application of strict reduction targets for greenhouse gases

– and ensuring that certified palm oil mills source raw material (Fresh Fruit Bunches) exclusively from legal cultivation.

“We are taking a very positive view of the first phase of the project,” says Ilka Petersen from WWF Germany. “We worked with the small farmers to see the impact of producing with less chemistry. On the pilot farms, they have even achieved higher yields.”

The Forum Sustainable Palm Oil e.V. is an association of companies, associations, non-governmental organisations and the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL). The association is supported by the BMEL through the specialist agency For Renewable Raw Materials (FNR). The aim of FONAP is to jointly develop viable solutions for improving practices in the palm oil sector. The current 51 members of the Sustainable Palm Oil Forum have made a commitment to use 100 percent certified palm oil. Another goal of FONAP is to improve the recognized certification systems and to increase the use of certified palm oil both nationally and internationally.