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Training farmers in the Solomon Islands
Training farmers in the Solomon Islands
News 3 Sep 2021

We have teamed up with our member Florin, Switzerland’s biggest producer and supplier of cooking oils, edible fats and margarines, and its supply chain partner, Guadalcanal Plains Palm Oil Limited (GPPOL), to support their 232 smallholder growers in the Solomon Islands with training designed to improve their agricultural practices and build resilience in the 710 hectares that they manage.

Earthworm began supporting Florin in 2012, working on supply chain transparency in their palm oil and coconut supply chains, building transparency, which helps to gain a clearer picture of supplier practices and how they can be improved.

The Solomon Islands is a high forest country, which has seen much deforestation in recent years. A 2018 report concluded that commercial logging was contributing to forest clearance at nearly 20 times the sustainable rate. While GPPOL has strict no-deforestation policies in line with corporate and RSPO requirements, this smallholder training is part of wider future aims to collaborate on incorporating riparian and forest restoration within GPPOL and smallholder farmer plantations.

As well as living in remote areas with few development opportunities other than subsistence agriculture, many of these palm oil farmers and community lands are considered High Carbon Stock (HCS) forest, and therefore as per RSPO and Florin’s Responsible Sourcing requirements, are not permitted to expand their operations. So, the challenge is to improve their productivity, yields and livelihoods whilst protecting and restoring valuable forest.

Earthworm, together with collaboration from GPPOL and Florin, developed a Solomon’s Farmer Handbook, focussing on issues related to oil palm production, individual grower needs and community participation to complement the work that GPPOL is doing with smallholder farmers on technical harvesting and upkeep operations, from pruning to slashing and circle weeding. Now, with some Covid restrictions having been lifted, this training is carried out by GPPOL on a weekly basis, rotating between the different smallholder and growing communities from which GPPOL sources.

Clarence Loe, GPPOL Smallholder Manager is already seeing some improvements. “I have seen with my own eyes how this training is improving practices over six months, in terms of better plantation upkeep, which has lead to increasing crop yield, so we are now exceeding our targets,” he said. "The budgeting training has been very well received by the growers who are now more aware of where their money is being spent and are actively seeing how to save their income from FFB crop and utilize them more strategically for their families and investing in their plantations.”

The palm oil produced by these farmers in the Solomon Islands is later refined, before being used in the gastronomy ad retail trade, in keeping with the edible margarine and fats Florin is known for.

In order to strengthen their business relationship, Florin and GPPOL will explore further links with smallholders in their supply through restoration of riparian zones, along with the implementation of GPPOL’s One Hour Partnership Principle, which focusses on access to clean water, medical care and schooling within a one hour walk by communities that supply GPPOL.

Craig Gibsone, General Manager of GPPOL has been encouraged by how the training has been rolled out to farmers. “We’ve seen how it has helped to share information to help bring positive change,” he said. “Next, we will plan how to provide this training to more farmers in the area.” Furthermore, Gibsone described this project as a great example for sharing responsibility for ensuring sustainable supply chains between upstream and downstream players.

Daniela Lötscher-Meister, Responsible Sourcing Manager at Florin sees this collaboration as a success in their model of proactively engaging key suppliers to meet the Swiss market’s expectations. "We are happy to have supported the production of the handbook and helped roll this training out to all 232 small holder farmers so that they have this as a reference going forwards and look forward to the next steps in our journey to continue to improve practices together."

Florin and GPPOL have responsible sourcing policies, in line with corporate NDPE (No Deforestation, Peat and Exploitation) and RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) requirements. This training aims to incorporate riparian and forest restoration within plantations.

Farmers here live in remote areas with few development opportunities other than subsistence agriculture. Much of the community lands are considered High Carbon Stock (HCS) forest, meaning that farmers cannot expand their plantations without violating their buyer's responsible sourcing commitments. The challenge now is to improve farmer's yields and livelihoods, while protecting and restoring valuable forests.

Earthworm began supporting Florin AG - Switzerland’s biggest producer of cooking oils, edible fats and margarines - in 2012, working on transparency in their palm oil and coconut supply chains. Building transparency helped gain a clearer picture of supplier practices and how they can be improved.

Building on this transparency work, a farmer handbook was developed, focussing on palm oil production, individual grower needs and community participation. This was meant to complement work GPPOL is doing with farmers on harvesting and upkeep, from pruning to slashing and circle weeding. Now, as some COVID restrictions are being lifted, this training is carried out by GPPOL on a weekly basis, rotating between the different communities GPPOL buys palm fruit from.

Clarence Loe, GPPOL Smallholder Manager, is already seeing some improvements.

“I have seen with my own eyes how this training is improving practices - better plantation upkeep, leading to better crop yield - which are exceeding our expectations,” he said. "The budgeting training has been well received by growers, who are more aware where their money is spent and how to save and invest income from palm in their families and plantations.”

The palm oil produced by these farmers in the Solomon Islands is refined, before being used in products likes margarines and fats. To strengthen their business relationship, Florin and GPPOL will work with smallholders, examining their supply through restoration of riparian zones, along with implementing GPPOL’s One Hour Partnership Principle. This focusses on access to clean water, medical care and schooling within a one-hour walk of communities that supply GPPOL.

Craig Gibsone, General Manager of GPPOL, said that he is planning to improve the training and that this project is an example of sharing responsibility between downstream companies and their suppliers.

Daniela Lötscher, Responsible Sourcing Manager at Florin AG, sees this collaboration as a success in engaging key suppliers to meet the Swiss market’s expectations.

"We are happy to have supported the development of this handbook and training to all 232 smallholder farmers," she said. "That way, they have a reference going forward and can look to the next steps in our journey to improve practices together."

Earthworm began supporting Florin AG - Switzerland’s biggest producer of cooking oils, edible fats and margarines - in 2012, working on transparency in their palm oil and coconut supply chains. Building transparency helped gain a clearer picture of supplier practices and how they can be improved.

Building on this transparency work, a farmer handbook was developed, focussing on palm oil production, individual grower needs and community participation. This was meant to complement work GPPOL is doing with farmers on harvesting and upkeep, from pruning to slashing and circle weeding. Now, as some COVID restrictions are being lifted, this training is carried out by GPPOL on a weekly basis, rotating between the different communities GPPOL buys palm fruit from.

Clarence Loe, GPPOL Smallholder Manager, is already seeing some improvements.

“I have seen with my own eyes how this training is improving practices - better plantation upkeep, leading to better crop yield - which are exceeding our expectations,” he said. "The budgeting training has been well received by growers, who are more aware where their money is spent and how to save and invest income from palm in their families and plantations.”

The palm oil produced by these farmers in the Solomon Islands is refined, before being used in products likes margarines and fats. To strengthen their business relationship, Florin and GPPOL will work with smallholders, examining their supply through restoration of riparian zones, along with implementing GPPOL’s One Hour Partnership Principle. This focusses on access to clean water, medical care and schooling within a one-hour walk of communities that supply GPPOL.

Craig Gibsone, General Manager of GPPOL, said that he is planning to improve the training and that this project is an example of sharing responsibility between downstream companies and their suppliers.

Daniela Lötscher, Responsible Sourcing Manager at Florin AG, sees this collaboration as a success in engaging key suppliers to meet the Swiss market’s expectations.

"We are happy to have supported the development of this handbook and training to all 232 smallholder farmers," she said. "That way, they have a reference going forward and can look to the next steps in our journey to improve practices together."

Clarence Loe, GPPOL Smallholder Manager, is already seeing some improvements.

“I have seen with my own eyes how this training is improving practices - better plantation upkeep, leading to better crop yield - which are exceeding our expectations,” he said. "The budgeting training has been well received by growers, who are more aware where their money is spent and how to save and invest income from palm in their families and plantations.”

The palm oil produced by these farmers in the Solomon Islands is refined, before being used in products likes margarines and fats. To strengthen their business relationship, Florin and GPPOL will work with smallholders, examining their supply through restoration of riparian zones, along with implementing GPPOL’s One Hour Partnership Principle. This focusses on access to clean water, medical care and schooling within a one-hour walk of communities that supply GPPOL.

Craig Gibsone, General Manager of GPPOL, said that he is planning to improve the training and that this project is an example of sharing responsibility between downstream companies and their suppliers.

Daniela Lötscher, Responsible Sourcing Manager at Florin AG, sees this collaboration as a success in engaging key suppliers to meet the Swiss market’s expectations.

"We are happy to have supported the development of this handbook and training to all 232 smallholder farmers," she said. "That way, they have a reference going forward and can look to the next steps in our journey to improve practices together."

A community on Guadalcanal, one of the Solomon Islands, known for World War 2 relics and diving sites.

The palm oil produced by these farmers in the Solomon Islands is refined, before being used in products likes margarines and fats. To strengthen their business relationship, Florin and GPPOL will work with smallholders, examining their supply through restoration of riparian zones, along with implementing GPPOL’s One Hour Partnership Principle. This focusses on access to clean water, medical care and schooling within a one-hour walk of communities that supply GPPOL.

Craig Gibsone, General Manager of GPPOL, said that he is planning to improve the training and that this project is an example of sharing responsibility between downstream companies and their suppliers.

Daniela Lötscher, Responsible Sourcing Manager at Florin AG, sees this collaboration as a success in engaging key suppliers to meet the Swiss market’s expectations.

"We are happy to have supported the development of this handbook and training to all 232 smallholder farmers," she said. "That way, they have a reference going forward and can look to the next steps in our journey to improve practices together."

Berita Terkait:

Bidang Pekerjaan:
Healthy forests Thriving communities Resilient farmers copy

Solusi:
Rurality

Produk:
Kelapa sawit

Anggota:
Florin AG

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