The Secretariat of Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries hosted a “Smallholder Outreach Program” (SOP) where 42 representatives of smallholder’s associations from Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Thailand and Papua New Guinea participated on this teleconference. SOP served as 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 discussion raised a willingness among the participants to establish a global communication network among smallholders of palm oil producing countries in achieving a wider sustainable global framework of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030.
A number of issues were discussed on this virtual event including the challenges on cultivation, the mandatory of sustainability certifications, and negative and black campaign against palm oil. The representative of smallholders from Indonesia, Djono Burhan, conveyed that, “Smallholders and CPOPC can be a great team to tackle negative campaign. […] If there is no palm oil, then there will be no SDGs,” he said. The representative of smallholders from Malaysia, Adzmi bin Hassan, shared his view on the high dependability of smallholders to palm oil as a source of living. “CPOPC should ensure the price between the member countries is around the same, as they will use the same standard (either MSPO or ISPO),” he said. The representative of smallholders from India, Chennu Rohith, said that the challenge of harvesting had been tackled by a sustain opportunity for the local people in this country. “There is a problem to find skilled manpower to harvest the palm oil, so we are empowering the local youth and trained them to harvest the palm oil,” he said.
At his opening remarks, the Deputy of Executive Director of CPOPC, Dupito D. Simamora, emphasized the role of CPOPC in enhancing the welfare of the oil palm smallholders through programs such as SOP. “CPOPC becomes a platform for a global communication network of the palm oil smallholders to learn to each other, improve the welfare of smallholders, reach the SDGs, and increase the capacity,” Simamora said. In his closing remarks, the Executive Director of CPOPC, Tan Sri Datuk Dr. Yusof Basiron stated that, “Covid-19 won’t bring negative impact on the palm oil production, and the future demand on palm oil will keep increasing globally. The cooperation and dialogue among the smallholders are very important. Someday the smallholders will be seen as the heroes who provide food to the world.” said Tan Sri. He also convinced that the SOP would provide advantages to the smallholders and this platform would continuously maintain the dialogue and discussion among the smallholders at international level. The smallholder representatives hoped the alliance and CPOPC could focus on tackling the price stabilization which was beyond their capacity to solve. Responding to this expectation, Tan Sri asserted that CPOPC would support efforts in solving problems faced by palm oil producing countries such as price differences. The Secretariat has set a further plan aims to engage the smallholders from regions of Africa and Central and Latin America separately. The main intention is to map the challenges, expectations, and possible solutions to improve the capacity of smallholders in attaining the SDGs by 2030.