KUALA LUMPUR: The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) Smallholders Support Fund (RSSF), has to date received applications totalling more than RM3.36 million, with RM1.06 million approved and in the process of being disbursed.
The RSSF, in recognition of the essential role played by smallholders worldwide in the oil palm sector, was set up in June last year with an initial capital of RM4.17 million, and aimed at assisting smallholders achieve sustainability certification.
Certified smallholders, who currently account for almost 120,000 hectares of production area, are already seeing the rewards of applying RSPO practices, such as access to international market for Certified Sustainable Palm Oil, long-term efficiencies in terms of yield and productivity, and effective cost management.
RSSF manager, Julia Majail, said the fund was looking at getting up to 4,000 smallholders certified by 2015.
“It is encouraging to see the growing interest of smallholders towards RSPO certification, both in Malaysia and internationally.bWe hope to see more applications from smallholders this year,” she said in a statement to Bernama.
RSSF said smallholders can apply for up to US$100,000 per year in funding to assist them towards full sustainability certification.
They can receive up to 100 per cent funding of all audit costs for the RSPO certification process of independent smallholder groups and up to 50 per cent grants for activities in preparation for certification.
The current estimated annual production capacity of RSPO-certified sustainable palm oil is 8.2 million metric tonnes, approximately 15 per cent of global palm oil production.
Spread over 2.2 million hectares of certified area, about 48.2 per cent of the world’s current RSPO-certified sustainable palm oil production capacity comes from Indonesia, followed by 43.9 per cent from Malaysia, and the remaining 7.9 per cent from Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Thailand, Cambodia, Brazil, Colombia and the Ivory Coast. — Bernama