This project, supported by IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), is currently piloted in Wilmar’s Sapi Plantation in Sabah, Malaysia. The ability to trace smallholder FFB supply is critical to Wilmar in ensuring compliance by its third-party mill suppliers, and their independent smallholder suppliers with its No Deforestation, No Peat and No Exploitation policy. Since July 2016, more than 90% of the smallholder supply base of the mill has been surveyed and mapped, with 1,400 traceable deliveries of smallholder FFB recorded. The next steps in the project are to roll out the system to an additional Wilmar-owned mill as well as a third-party supplier mill, both in Sabah.
Jeremy Goon, Wilmar’s Chief Sustainability Officer, said, “Smallholders are a key stakeholder group in our pursuit of a sustainable and transparent supply chain. We have committed substantial resources to empowering smallholders to improve their livelihoods and to ensure they share in the benefits of oil palm development.
"Our collaboration with GeoTraceability and Wild Asia to develop this smallholder specific traceability tool is a win-win for the industry and smallholders.
"Benefiting from agronomic expertise is an important incentive that will further strengthen sustainability take-up amongst smallholder producers. We hope this tool can help facilitate the traceability agenda of our external mill suppliers and the wider industry.”
Dr. Reza Azmi, Executive Director and Founder at Wild Asia said, “Our Wild Asia Group Scheme (WAGS) is a programme to promote traceability and better production among groups of small independent palm oil producers. Systematic, electronic data on the small producers means that we can accelerate our work, and that our agronomists can deliver individualised support to our group members.
"More importantly, we want to be able to empower local producers with tools that can provide meaningful insights to their own production data.”
Pierre Courtemanche, Chief Executive Officer at GeoTraceability, said, “Our software and training is designed to support mills, NGOs, development agencies and Governments in better delivery of support to smallholders. This combination of tools supports a ‘New Deal’ for farmers: allow us to use your data to improve transparency and you’ll receive improved support services.”
GeoTraceability’s Digital Agronomist is a new software technology which allows the delivery of agronomists’ expertise to each individual smallholder farmer, and his or her fields. The agronomic recommendations for increasing smallholder productivity are compiled in individual “Farm Business Plans”, which can be further supported with field-input credit, training and ultimately Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) Group certification. This package of opportunities to improve productivity and profitability for smallholder farmers presents a compelling alternative path to the farm expansion model.
IDH has been working with industry actors to coordinate and accelerate progress on traceability since 2014 and is supporting platforms such as GeoTraceability as critical innovations on the path to sustainability. IDH is supporting the project financially and has informed project design with the objective of maximising lessons learned that may be of value to the wider industry.