The CPOPC Secretariat conducted a follow up session of the Smallholders Outreach Program (SOP) with smallholders of Papua New Guinea (PNG). The virtual meeting was also observed by Mr Frank Mazigi, the Charge d’affaires of PNG in Jakarta. The teleconference discussed the challenges faced by the smallholders and CPOPC’s role in promoting cooperation and collaboration among palm oil producing countries. It was attended by the Deputy Executive Director of CPOPC, Mr Dupito D. Simamora, Director of Sustainability and Smallholders of CPOPC, Mr Witjaksana Darmosarkoro, representatives of smallholders’ associations from Indonesia and Malaysia.
The representative of PNG smallholders, Mr Kepson Puspita, said, “The current palm industry is needs urgent support and better management. PNG can learn a lot from other palm oil producing countries, especially Indonesia and Malaysia. By joining CPOPC, we hope that we will get technical support and assistance to develop our small farmers and promote their livelihood and income. For us, joining the CPOPC will bring us a lot of positive impacts such as we can join and participate on the various CPOPC events, while also become a member of a global alliance.”
Mr Adzmi Hasan from Malaysia expressed his surprise and concern of the low price of the fresh fruit bunches in PNG compared to Malaysia and Indonesia. “We hope we can work together on the price formula at the CPOPC. It is better to increase the product usage of palm oil to increase the revenue of the smallholders.” Said Adzmi. On the other hand, Mr Djono Albar Burhan from Indonesia shared Indonesia’s smallholders’ experiences including in better management and organization of the smallholdings. He also underscored the importance of farmers from many countries to work together through CPOPC.
The Deputy Executive Director of CPOPC, Dupito D. Simamora conveyed that the CPOPC Secretariat will continue to work for the interests of all palm oil producing countries. Smallholders will be one of the main priorities as they play an important role in the industry nationally and also globally. The Secretariat will be in a much better position to facilitate the needs of palm oil producing countries if they are part of the CPOPC as member countries. As more countries to join, the Council will be able to defend the interests of producing countries as a whole such in price stabilization, addressing market impediments and countering the increasing negative campaign against palm oil. The Council also can act as a networking platform for smallholders to share and learn lessons.
Estimated 20,000 palm oil smallholders and 500,000 people involve in the palm oil supply chain in PNG. Other challenges also revealed during the discussion such as limited infrastructure caused the high cost for transportation, the fertilizers were not affordable, and the low rate of literacy among the smallholders declined their bargaining powers. Some of those issues are in fact common problems and challenges faced by small-scale farmers around the globe.
The CPOPC Secretariat initiated SOP to provide a platform where smallholders from several palm oil producing countries join CPOPC’s network to discuss relevant issues and challenges in capacity building related to the efforts of achieving prosperity and sustainable environment. The first round was conducted for smallholders in Asia Pacific and held in 11 August. The virtual event was attended by 42 representatives of smallholders from Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, India, and PNG. The second meeting will reach the smallholders in Central America and Latin America and is scheduled to be held in September. The third program is planned for smallholders in Africa also next month.
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Senior Officer of Communication and Promotion