23 January 2014

Proforest facilitates first RSPO National Interpretation for small producing countries


Proforest facilitates first RSPO National Interpretation for small producing countries

Honduras is the 3rd largest producer of palm oil in Latin America, with approximately 150,000ha of plantations, which is characterized by the large number of small-scale individual producers and cooperative associations. Over 95% of the oil palm growers are classed as ‘small’ or ‘medium’ producers, with 6,800 growers managing less than 50ha each.

The National Interpretation process involved a review of the laws and treaties in Honduras which are relevant to the RSPO’s international standard for sustainable palm oil and the incorporation of RSPO’s guidance for smallholders. This review formed the basis for the draft National Interpretation which was put out for public consultation for a period of three months.

During the consultation period input was invited from a wide variety of stakeholders, either via online comments or via participation in one of the three stakeholder consultation workshops held in different regions of the country. Around 115 people attended these workshops, at which information was also presented about the aims, origin and process of RSPO certification and the NI development in Honduras.

The input from the consultation workshops and online comments was used by the technical committee to revise the draft, after which the finalised National Interpretation, together with the required National Interpretation Process Report, were submitted to the RSPO for approval.

Additionally Proforest worked with the Honduran Technical Committee to understand how best the RSPO certification models can be applied to the Honduran context, since it was not initially clear how to apply RSPO systems to Honduras’s ‘social enterprises’ and associations of cooperative growers, some of which own their own mills. As a result a proposal was also submitted to RSPO to allow a modification to the way Group Certification is applied in Honduras, which would allow greater access to smallholders, by allowing organizations (such as associations of smallholders) with mills to use group certification.

RSPO are currently undertaking their review and approval process for the documents submitted.