The Palm Scribe

SPKS Maps and Collects Data on Oil Palm Smallholders

palm oil plantation data illustration

The Union of Oil Palm Farmers (SPKS) said that together with a number of stakeholders in the palm oil industry, it is currently conducting an ambitious project to map oil palm plantation data, especially those of smallholders, in 14 Indonesian provinces.

“The mapping of people oil palm plantations is aimed at creating a data base on oil palm farmers. The government currently does have final data on oil palm cover in Indonesia but it does not yet have specific data on smallholder oil palm plantations, especially those managed by independent smallholders,” SPKS Head of Advocacy Marselinus Andry, told The Palm Scribe in an e-mail.

Marselinus said that the data base will be used for programs of the SPKS such as to empower farmers, forms and strengthen farmer institutions, legality processing, certification under the Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) / Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) schemes and other programs.

The project that had been initiated in 2016 can be said to be ambitious because it is mapping the land of all SPKS members as well as those of other oil palm farmers in adjacent lands, and is conducted in coordination and in collaboration with governments at the district, sub-district and village levels as well as with oil palm farmers cooperatives or groupings.

So far SPKS has conducted the mapping in 14 districts and has covered 911 plots of land. The data could be accessed at datasawit.com.

Also read: Activists Welcome New Indonesia Oil Palm Plantation Data but Want Follow Ups

Marselinus also pointed out that SPSK only played a role in bridging and facilitating the projects while the initiative came from farmer cooperatives and groups. SPKS also works with donors and a number of companies to fund the project and to facilitate ISPO / RSPO certification for independent smallholders.

The mapping and data collection use GPS and generally take two weeks to complete in a village with the assumption that there 400 hectares of land to be recorded in each village. Mapping also uses Drones for four to five days each, involving four to six people per village and is assisted by the farmers in marking the boundaries of their land.

“SPKS has an SOP for the implementation and data collection, both for GPS use and Drone use,” Marselinus said. “Periodical monitoring and evaluation are also being conducted by the SPKS at the national level, both directly and indirectly through data uploaded through the kobocollect application,” he added. Kobocollect is a data collection application that uses Android mobile phones or tablets.

Besides for its own use within SPKS, the results of the mapping will also be made available to the governments in the regions so that they can be printed at all levels. Once the maps and data are published, SPKS would continue to work with the government at the phase of providing Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) trainings, the establishment and strengthening of farmer institutions, and the processing of the cultivation registration permit (STDB.) The data will also be used as a base for the government’s policy making.

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