Smallholders are small-scale farmers who own less than 20 hectares of planted oil palm. Traditionally, the farmer’s family provides most of the labor and grows other crops for subsistence1. Smallholders account for 41% of Indonesia’s oil palm plantation area, yet they lack the resources and expertise to improve yield and produce more sustainably.

As a major palm oil producer in Indonesia, we see our investment in people as an essential contribution to sustainable development. These apply not just to our workers and surrounding local communities, but also to smallholders.

In Indonesia, oil palm smallholders are classified into:
two groups: Scheme Smallholders and Independent Smallholders.

Scheme Smallholders

Scheme smallholders are those operating under a program initiated by the Indonesian Government to encourage the development of smallholder plantations, where plantation companies (nucleus estates) assist and support surrounding community plantations.

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Independent Smallholders

Independent smallholders on the other hand are those who are self-financed, self-managed, and self-equipped, but are not bound to any one mill.

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There is an estimated number of over 2.6 million smallholders* in Indonesia as of 20221. They are critical in making sustainable palm oil the norm. They hold approximately 41% of Indonesia’s oil palm plantations and are a significant group in the palm oil supply chain. This represents 6.4 million hectares in Indonesia.

According to the Palm Oil Agribusiness Strategic Policy Initiative (PASPI), smallholders are set to manage 60% of Indonesia’s oil palm plantations by 2030. This means that smallholders are a substantial group that must be included in the journey to make sustainable palm oil the norm.

1   Tree Crop Estate Statistics of Indonesia

Challenges faced by Independent Smallholders

Lack of GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) knowledge

Lack of access to finance

Poor quality planting materials (historical)

Lack of access to markets

Lack of financial literacy and business planning skills

Smallholders Represent

  • The biggest risk to our NDPE (No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation) Policy
  • The biggest opportunity for yield enhancement and not land expansion

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