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Jakarta, November 21, 2023 – Musim Mas Group and Gabungan Asosiasi Pekebun Sawit Inisiasi Musim Mas (GAPSIMA), the largest RSPO-certified Independent Smallholders Association comprising nearly 4,586 farmers and managing a combined land area of 11,012 hectares in Indonesia, is awarded the Smallholder Impact Program Award at the Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) Excellence Awards ceremony held yesterday.

The award was conferred during RSPO’s Annual Roundtable Conference, held at the Hotel Mulia Senayan, Jakarta, this year. The 3rd RSPO Excellence Awards recognize member organizations with exceptional performance in crucial impact areas. A distinguished panel of judges, comprising representatives from industry, academia, and conservation, played a pivotal role in determining the deserving recipients of these accolades.

In its debut year as a nominee, GAPSIMA guided and trained by Musim Mas, secured the coveted Smallholder Impact Program Award at the RSPO Excellence Awards ceremony, underscoring the association’s commitment to sustainable practices and the positive impact it has made within the smallholder community. Gabungan Asosiasi Pekebun Sawit Inisiasi Musim Mas (GAPSIMA) is an Group Association made up of four asssociations, Asosiasi Pekebun Swadaya Kelapa Sawit Labuhanbatu, Asosiasi Pekebun Swadaya Kelapa Sawit Negeri Seribu Kubah, Perkumpulan Pekebun Swadaya Kelapa Sawit Rokan Hulu, Asosiasi Pekebun Swadaya Kelapa Sawit Pelalawan Siak with two associations,  Asosiasi Pekebun Swadaya Kelapa Sawit Trahayu Barito Utara and Asosiasi Pekebun Swadaya Kelapa Sawit Mitra Sambas Jaya that joined this year. GAPSIMA has participated in Musim Mas’ Smallholders Training Program since 2015.

Musim Mas’ Independent Smallholders Program

Musim Mas has spearheaded programs to seamlessly integrate independent smallholders into the palm oil supply chain since 2015. Through tailored training modules covering Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation (NDPE) commitments, we empower smallholders to align with industrial standards and encourage uptake on certification.

Our journey has seen the evolution of three key programs: the Musim Mas-International Finance Corporation (IFC) Program, Extension Services, and Smallholders Hubs. Today, we focus on two primary streams: Training for Smallholders and Training for Trainers through Smallholders Hubs.

A cornerstone of our approach is the innovative Training for Trainers initiative within Smallholders Hubs. We create a ripple effect by training local government agricultural officials, known as Village Extension Officers (VEOs). These officers become ambassadors, scaling up our programs and equipping smallholders with the skills for responsible farming. Musim Mas also extended to smallholders who are not our direct suppliers.

Crucially, our district-level focus ensures a pre-competitive collaboration, encouraging palm oil companies to share resources and expertise. This approach, integrated with government efforts, enhances program attractiveness and support for independent smallholders. Ongoing support for trained VEOs and collaboration with regional actors further amplifies the impact of smallholder hubs in fostering sustainable practices.

Independent smallholders contribute significantly, making up about 41% of the total production area in Indonesia. The country’s estimated count of independent smallholders exceeds 6.4 million hectares, which is anticipated to increase to 60% by 2030. They are generally disadvantaged due to a lack of technical know-how to grow oil palm sustainably and tend to lack resources such as access to fertilizers. They, therefore, suffer poorer yields than industrial plantations, and many also lack access to wider supply chains.

Effectively involving this essential group is vital in establishing sustainable palm oil as the industry norm. Independent smallholders hold promise for heightened productivity and the adoption of more sustainable practices, making their engagement crucial for advancing sustainability goals.

Opening global markets access for independent smallholders through RSPO Certification

Over the years, Musim Mas has trained more than 42,900 smallholders and approximately 398 VEOs across its six smallholder hubs. Two of the new associations Musim Mas assisted, Asosiasi Pekebun Swadaya Kelapa Sawit Trahayu Barito Utara and Asosiasi Pekebun Swadaya Kelapa Sawit Mitra Sambas Jaya, was also successfully RSPO-certified last month. This latest accomplishment sees Musim Mas help more than 4,586 independent smallholders achieve RSPO certification, amounting to a total land cover of 11,012 hectares being RSPO-certified.

Today, Musim Mas also helped facilitate the symbolic handover of RSPO credits worth 1.32 million USD between six farmers’ associations from GAPSIMA and consumer goods companies Unilever and Nestlé.

“At Musim Mas, we proudly celebrate GAPSIMA’s achievement of the RSPO Excellence Award, a testament to the success of our long-standing commitment to training and empowering independent smallholders. With 4,586 smallholders achieving RSPO certification, we are fostering sustainable palm oil practices and addressing a crucial challenge—opening market access for smallholders. The symbolic handover of RSPO credits worth 1.32 million USD to GAPSIMA from consumer goods companies like Unilever and Nestlé highlights the demand for responsibly sourced palm oil. This success underscores the transformative power of sustainability in enhancing market competitiveness, reaffirming our belief in the crucial role of certified smallholders in shaping a more sustainable palm oil industry.”, said Rob Nicholls, General Manager of Programs and Projects at Musim Mas.

Last year, RSPO also awarded the Musim Mas Group with the Smallholder Impact Programme Award, a testament to the group’s efforts in helping independent smallholders gain knowledge, resources, and supply chain access, thereby improving smallholder sustainability and livelihoods.

About Musim Mas

Musim Mas Group is an integrated palm oil company, operating in 13 countries. From plantations, to mills, refineries, kernel-crushing plants, oleochemicals, and specialty fats plants, Musim Mas manufactures palm oil products and value-added derivatives. Musim Mas is one of the largest domestic producers and exporters in Indonesia. Inter-Continental Oils and Fats (ICOF), a member of Musim Mas Group, undertakes global marketing activities.

The Group is committed to sustainability and was the first company with significant operations in Indonesia to join the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) in 2004. Committed early to emissions reductions, Musim Mas is a signatory to the Agriculture Sector Roadmap to 1.5 Degrees convened by the Tropical Forest Alliance. The roadmap aims to halt commodity-linked deforestation in line with the 1.5-degree pathway while enhancing the livelihoods of smallholder farmers and supporting the sector’s transformation toward forest-positive land-use management. In January 2024, Musim Mas announced that it will strive to achieve net zero by 2050, aligning with climate science as per the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi). Musim Mas also manages the most extensive independent smallholder programs in Indonesia.