As 2015 drew to a close, in the Honduran coastal town of Tela, Proforest Senior Project Managers Bella Sosa and Daniel Arancibia met with smallholders, representatives from the company Jaremar, government officials and NGOs to review the year’s progress towards developing and implementing a simplified approach to High Conservation Values (HCVs) for smallholders.
In Honduras, like many other countries, smallholders may account for 50% of supply to palm oil mills. As more and more companies work towards RSPO certification, they need ways to make sure that smallholders are included in their certified and responsible supply chains.
RSPO certification requires palm oil producers to manage and maintain HCVs on their lands. This has been a bottleneck for smallholders in Latin America, due partly to a lack of experience in the region, and the complex and potentially costly nature of a full scale HCV assessment. Smallholders clearly find it difficult to meet the same requirements as large scale company producers.
In 2014, the SHARP Partnership and HCV Resource Network started work with RSPO and partner organizations including Proforest, to figure out a procedure that was robust yet simple enough to work for smallholders.
Throughout 2014 and 2015, Proforest has worked in Honduras with the oil palm company Jaremar, and UNPALA, a smallholder producer association with more than 1,200 members. Together with 200 smallholders in northern Honduras we carried out initial testing of the first draft of the procedure, and followed up with pilot implementation of the final methodology.
After pilot implementation was also completed by partner organizations in Ghana, Indonesia and Tanzania, SHARP and HCV Resource Network were able to propose the methodology to RSPO. At RT13 in November 2015 in Kuala Lumpur, RSPO approved and published the new methodology, making it available for smallholders to use in their efforts towards certification worldwide.
A long way from Tela, Honduran smallholders, Jaremar and UNPALA have contributed to a significant milestone in responsible palm oil production by smallholder farmers worldwide.
For more information about the trials of the simplified HCV approach, download the SHARP bulletin here.