Oil palm smallholders from Papua New Guinea are eager to learn from their counterparts in Indonesia and Malaysia the world’s top two producers of the commodity, the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC) said.
An exchange between smallholders from the three countries took place in an online meeting held on August 19, 2020 under the Smallholders Outreach Program (SOP) by the Kuala Lumpur-based CPOPC Secretariat, the secretariat said in a release sent to The Palm Scribe Thursday (20/8.)
“At present the palm oil industry needs the support of a better management, Papua New Guinea can learn a lot from palm oil producing countries, especially Indonesia and Malaysia,” Kepson Puspita, a representative of oil palm smallholders from Papua New Guinea said in the release.
Puspita said that through CPOPC, he and smallholders in his countries hoped to be able to obtain technical support and assistance in developing the economy of smallholders, improving their livelihood.
“For us, joining the CPOPC would carry positive impacts, such as being able to join the various CPOPC activities and also be part of a global farmers alliance,” Puspita said.
Adzmi Hassan, a smallholder representative from Malaysia aired hope that oil palm smallholders from the various producing counties could work together in CPOPC to formulate prices.
Indonesian smallholder representatives at the teleconference, Djono Albar Burhan also stressed the importance for smallholders from the various producing countries to cooperate in CPOPC. At the teleconference, Burhan shared his experience in the management and organization of oil palm plantation that are part of a company’s plasma scheme.
The online exchange touched on the constraints faced by smallholders in Papua New Guinea such as infrastructure that led to high transportation costs, unaffordable fertilizer prices and the low literacy level among smallholders that was behind their low bargaining power.
CPOPC Executive Director Dupito D. Simamora pledged that the CPOPC would continue to defend the interest of palm oil producing countries including in stabilizing prices, overcoming trade barriers and in countering negative campaigns against palm oil.
The CPOPC would also provide a platform for smallholder networks to share their experience and knowledge and learn from each other.
Smallholders, he added was one of the priorities of the organization considering that they make up a substantial part of the value chain and in view of their important role at the national and global levels.
The CPOPC currently has Indonesia, Malaysia and Columbia as members and the organization is actively trying to expand its membership to include other palm oil producing countries.
In Papuan New Guinea oil palm smallholders are estimated to number around 20,000 and the palm oil supply chain involves around 500,000 people, CPOPC said in the release.
The SOP itself is held in stages with the first one, for the Asia Pacific region held on August 11, 2020, involving various farmers associations from Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Thailand and Papua New Guinea. This was then followed up with the meeting between smallholder representatives from Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and Malaysia on August 19, 2020.
The SOP for Central and South America is being scheduled for September while the third SOP, for smallholders in Africa was currently being prepared and also scheduled for next month.