The Palm Scribe

Government Mulls Easing Smallholders ISPO Certification

The government is mulling easing the legality requirement by recognizing Cultivation Registration Receipt (STDB) in Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) certification and replanting programs. The move was a push to accelerate smallholder ISPO certification.

smallholders ISPO certification
Papuans mingle on a riverbank close to their village, which is adjacent to a palm oil plantation. DOC: ANJ

Many have been complaining that land legality is the main obstacle in smallholders ISPO certification. According to Agriculture Ministry Plantation Products Processing and Marketing Director Dedi Junaedi, also the ISPO Commission Secretary, various ways are being considered to make it easy for smallholders to get certification.

One way proposed to overcome the legality aspect problem is recognizing STDB as a legal document in the palm oil rejuvenation program and ISPO certification.

“We are heading that way, still in progress,” Junaedi answered The Palm Scribe when asked about the possibility of STDB being recognized as a legal document for certification, during the Second International Conference and Expo of ISPO 2018.

He explained further that some requirements, such as supervision, are needed to get STDB recognition approved. “We will supervise, in the next one or two years,” he added.

The government is currently working on a “guidance book” for the palm oil industries and it is expected to be formalized by Plantation Director General. It will then be an attachment of a ministerial regulation.

Junaedi explained more on the importance of the legality aspect, that without it, it would be terribly difficult to make ISPO mandatory and realize traceability.

He also added that there was a good news coming from a meeting between Agriculture Ministry Plantation Director General and Environment and Forestry Minister, in which he attended.

“There is a good news about the legality aspect problem. …the Minister has given a positive signal and hopefully, this will be followed by director generals, related to how to release… plantations located in forest areas. There will be an agreement,” Junaedi told the conference earlier.

Officials and industry players have cited the existence of palm oil plantations in forest or conservation areas as one of the hindrances to ISPO certification acceleration. The government is looking at land swap as a solution for corporations, while for smallholders, no solution was in sight.

Indonesia has made ISPO certification mandatory for palm oil companies. For smallholders, however, certification is still optional. ISPO has issued 346 certifications so far and only four are from village cooperative units representing smallholders.

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