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About Smallholders


Smallholders are “farmers growing oil palm, sometimes along with subsistence production of other crops, where the family provides the majority of labour. The farm provides the principal source of income, and where the planted area of oil palm is below 50 hectares in size.”

Smallholders farm more than 40% of the oil palm plantations in Indonesia. The estimated number of smallholder farmers is about 2 million farmers, excluding their families.

Types of Smallholders

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We work closely with the scheme Smallholders in our plantations and mills. Scheme or associated Smallholders are structurally bound by contract, a credit agreement or planning to a mill. They do not choose which crop they grow, are supervised in their planting and crop management techniques, and are often organised, supervised or directly managed by the managers of the mill, estate or scheme to which they are structurally linked.

We also work closely with independent Smallholders too, both the ones who supply to our mills and the ones who supply to our third-party mills. Independent Smallholders are self-financed, managed, and equipped and are not bound to any one mill. They may deal directly with local mill operators of their choice or process their Palm Oil using personal or community manual Palm Oil presses (more common in Africa).

Our Smallholder Locations

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As independent Smallholders also form a significant part of our third-party mills’ supply bases, Smallholders are an important group of stakeholders in our strategy to implement our Sustainability Policy or No Deforestation, Peat, and Exploitation (NDPE ) policy. The chief concern with the NDPE policies is that the policies exclude Smallholders from the supply chain, due to suspension policies. With the mixing of Smallholders ’ oil into the Indonesian supply base, the smallholder dilemma that comes with NDPE policies is complex.

Scheme Smallholders

We provide financial and technical assistance to develop the villagers’ arable land into oil palm holdings (smallholder projects) through cooperative programme, Kredit Koperasi Primer Anggota (KKPA) and Village Development Programmes. As at end-2018, the total families/villages of the KKPA and Village Development Program which we are supporting are as follows: 

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The other community projects include the construction of wells, road repairs, free medical aid and financial assistance for local community projects. These programmes create employment and increase the income level of the community.

In 2011, the Group’s affiliated Smallholders under the KKPA successfully complied with RSPO certification requirements. The KKPA in West Sumatra is the first smallholder scheme in Indonesia to receive the Indonesian National Interpretation of RSPO P&C certification. The Smallholders must adhere strictly to RSPO standards and undertake one main audit every five years, with four annual surveillance assessments. 

Please click here for more information on the KKPA farmers. 

CompanyName of scheme smallholdersCertified areaNumber of families in KKPA
PT AgrowiratamaKoperasi Sawit Bersama I & Koperasi Sawit Bersama II524262
PT AgrowiratamaKoperasi Sawit Bosa Sungai Aua Manjunjung Bilang500250
PT AgrowiratamaKoperasi Sawit Datuk Bosa Sikilang500250
PT Musim MasKKPA Rawa Tengkuluk802401
PT Musim Mas KKPA Merbau Sakti1,066570

Updated as at January 2019

The KKPA scheme has resulted in increased productivity, which in turn increased the earnings of Smallholders . For example, our smallholder cooperative in the West Pasaman Regency, West Sumatra Province, contributed to a mosque, a kindergarten and an indoor sports centre.

Independent Smallholders

Given the smaller scale of the Smallholders ’ operations (with planted areas of less than 50 hectares), Smallholders are usually disadvantaged by limited financial resources, limited access to technology and best operational procedures. Hence, the resultant low yields and less environmentally desirable practices make it difficult and costly for them to achieve RSPO certification.

Feedback from Baseline study on Independent Smallholders  

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Source: IFC, “Diagnostic study on Indonesian oil palm Smallholders ”, September 2013 

Indonesian Palm Oil Development for Smallholders

Musim Mas is collaborating with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) – a member of the World Bank Group - to assist independent Smallholders who have been supplying Fresh Fruit Bunches (FFBs) to our subsidiary. We started with one of our subsidiaries, PT Siringo Ringo (Siringo Ringo) in Rantau Prapat, Sumatra, Indonesia in June 2015. Siringo Ringo has an independent smallholder supply base that makes up ninety percent of the total FFB supply.

The project has since been extended to three other mills in Riau that source from many independent Smallholders too. These three mills are estimated to benefit additional 9,000 independent Smallholders , bringing the total number of beneficiaries of the Musim Mas-IFC joint projects to 12,000 Smallholders . It is the largest Independent Smallholder programme in Indonesia. 

The programme serves to bring these independent Smallholders up to efficient farming standards adopted by large Palm Oil organisations. We will provide agronomic training, provide access to financial support and global markets and educate on the legal requirements. The project will close the gaps between current practices and those required for certification. We want to reach out to more Smallholders for an inclusive supply chain.

Programme Objectives:

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Target by end-2020:


How is the project different?

  • Independent extension platform of agronomists and field assistants who are recruited from the local communities.
  • Electronic tag for traceability.
  • Training modules that focuses on family such as nutrition for children, not just agriculture.
  • Grouping the previously unorganised farmers into groups for greater bargaining power.

These are truly independent Smallholders who are individuals not organised in a formal manner.

Key support strategies for Smallholders
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Skills development for Smallholders

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Challenges of the Project

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For more information, please refer to here for the public presentation on the Programme. 

Extension Services Programme (ESP)

The Extension Services Programme (ESP) was conceived to address the challenges of independent Smallholders who supply directly (through our own mills) and indirectly (through our third-party mills) to us. 
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Participant Soundbites
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Project Locations



Mill name

Start date

No. of smallholders trained*

Aceh, Aceh Tamiang

Third-party mill

PT Pati Sari

April 2018


Central Kalimantan, Karamuan

MM mill

PT Multipersada Gatramegah (MPG)

April 2019


South Sumatra, Musi Bayuasin

Third-party mill

PT Bastian Olah Sawit (BOS)

December 2017


Riau, Indragiri Hilir

MM mill

PT Guntung IdamanNusa (GIN)

December 2018


*Data accurate as of August 2019

As the ESP experiences success and momentum, we will look to scaling up the programme to other regions that are of high importance to our sustainability implementation plan.

Training is competency based to ensure the development of both knowledge and skills. The curriculum is based on materials developed by the Musim Mas plantations division, and modified to the appropriate level of the smallholder participants. 

Informal theory sessions will be supplemented with practical hands-on training in the field. Crucial to the training will be the follow-up visits by the Field Assistants, to allow the Smallholders to benefit from one-to-one sessions where addressing of specific queries and practical implementation of the training can take place.