Smallholders: Links for RISDA and FELCRA of Malaysia, Over 400,000 oil palm smallholders in Malaysia eye MSPO certification says NASH (independent smallholders are those with under 40 ha of oil palm land); Indonesia targets 5.5 million ha of forest to local people with 2.5 mill ha targeted for 2015 with 20% from forest concession areas (forestry companies raise concerns); Pope Francis urges rights for downtrodden against "new colonialism"; RM900 per Felda settler dividend plus "duit raya" / Eid gift but not for some 13,947 settlers (about 6.5% of total) who have sued Felda or who have not participated in Felda replanting, carried out unauthorized activities or sold produce outside Felda

18 October 2015: Links for RISDA and FELCRA of Malaysia

RISDA is big. 1 million ha. and can compare to 2002. and news here: and Objective: Smallholders earn at least RM2, 500 per month by the end of 2015 the family.

14 July 2015: Over 400,000 oil palm smallholders in Malaysia eye MSPO certification says NASH (independent smallholders are those with under 40 ha of oil palm land)

Big boost for small palm oil planters in Malaysia Hanim Adnan, The Star/ANN, Petaling Jaya | Business | Mon, July 06 2015, 3:58 PM; Over 400,000 oil palm smallholders in Malaysia will finally get to see their estates certified as producers of sustainable palm oil under the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification standard initiated by the Government.With an initial fund of 50 million ringgit (US$13.2 million) allocated for this purpose, many independent smallholders are more receptive towards getting the MSPO certification, compared with the stringent rules and costly auditing process imposed on them when trying to acquire Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification, which is the world’s first palm oil certification standard. “For independent smallholders with oil palm land size of 40 hectares and below, it is just too expensive to fork out the certification fee of 10,000 ringgit to get the RSPO agents to audit their land.“The stringent rules have also put off their interest to be RSPO-certified,” says National Association of Smallholders (NASH) president Aliasak Ambia. Unlike the organised smallholders under the Felda settlers scheme whose cost for RSPO certification is mostly supported by Felda, independent smallholders in the country lack the financial back-up to undergo RSPO auditing, he says.“What more with the stringent RSPO auditing which often questions local smallholders on their crop yield, and, agricultural and management practice which has resulted in many smallholders in Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia rejecting the RSPO sustainability movement,” says Aliasak. - See more at:

Could Europe’s drive to segregated palm oil exclude small producers? By Caroline Scott-Thomas+, 02-Jun-2015 A European push toward segregated certified sustainable palm oil may inadvertently exclude smaller producers from the supply chain, says GreenPalm manager Bob Norman.

10 July 2015: Indonesia targets 5.5 million ha of forest to local people with 2.5 mill ha targeted for 2015 with 20% from forest concession areas (forestry companies raise concerns); Pope Francis urges rights for downtrodden against "new colonialism"

Pope Francis on Thursday urged the downtrodden to change the world economic order, denouncing a "new colonialism" by agencies that impose austerity programs and calling for the poor to have the "sacred rights" of labor, lodging and land.... In one of the longest, most passionate and sweeping speeches of his pontificate, the Argentine-born pope also asked forgiveness for the sins committed by the Roman Catholic Church in its treatment of native Americans during what he called the "so-called conquest of America." .... Quoting a fourth century bishop, he called the unfettered pursuit of money "the dung of the devil," and said poor countries should not be reduced to being providers of raw material and cheap labor for developed countries.....

New ruling upsets forestry firms | The Jakarta Post; Indonesia. The government has set a target of allocating 5.5 million hectares of forest to local people in the next four years, the majority of which will be taken from around 30 million hectares of existing forest concession areas...... This year alone, the government plans to give 2.5 million hectares of forest to local people, with 20 percent from concession areas..... Forestry companies have raised concerns over a new ministerial regulation that requires them to allocate at least 20 percent of their existing concession areas t…

8 July 2015: RM900 per Felda settler dividend plus "duit raya" / Eid gift but not for some 13,947 settlers (about 6.5% of total) who have sued Felda or who have not participated in Felda replanting, carried out unauthorized activities or sold produce outside Felda; Najib points to FGV hopes for 420,000 hectares in PNG

Dividends and aid for Felda settlers  By Syed Umar Ariff and Teoh Pei Ying - 7 July 2015 @ 8:18 PM;  JELEBU: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today announced a total of RM88.8 million in Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGV) dividends and raya aid that would be distributed to almost 100,000 Felda settlers nationwide. Out of the total, RM59.2 million were FGV dividends and RM29.6 million raya aid to 98,688 Felda settlers. "I hope that the raya aid will ease the financial burden of settlers in preparation for Hari Raya. "But those who are Felda settlers but do not participate in Felda schemes, or do not send their crops to Felda will not receive dividends or duit raya," said Najib at the break of fast event with settlers in Felda Pasong 4. Najib said payment would be made on July 13. The payment of the dividends were of 6 cents interim dividend, and 4 cents final dividend. Also present was Negeri Sembilan Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan and Felda chairman Tan Sri Mohd Isa Samad.

Najib announces RM88.8 million for Felda settlers, payment starts next week Published: 7 July 2015 8:39 PM; "We need to be with Felda, do not stray too far away... actually those who confuse Felda people are those who come to Felda like pests out to poison the minds of settlers so much so when we do good, the people say otherwise," he told Bernama. He said Felda has various plans to improve the income of settlers and overcome the constraints of land to be developed as plantations in the country. He added that FGV planned to purchase 420,000 hectares of land in Papua New Guinea which could generate revenue double the amount in this country as the volcanic land there is fertile. - See more at:

Anak sees red with Felda by Malaysiakini 1:53PM Jul 8, 2015; National Felda Settlers' Children's Association (Anak) has slammed Felda for depriving settlers of their annual payment for initiating legal action against the agency. This is after Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak yesterday announced a RM600 dividend and RM300 "duit raya" for Felda settlers but excluded those who had sued Felda. Settlers who refused to participate in Felda's replanting scheme, carry out land activities without its authorisation or did not sell their produce to Felda were also excluded. Anak president Mazlan Aliman (photo) described this as a victimisation of settlers and an act of revenge.  "If they sue Felda.. It is the settlers' right as enshrined in the Federal Constitution. Several Felda settlers had sued the agency, claiming Felda cheated them by using an inferior grade to determine the purchase price of their oil palm fruit even though they were of superior quality. Mazlan said a total of 13,947 settlers were denied payment for the second year in a row....

27 June 2015: PAS bids Anak chief goodbye but vows to keep helping group ; MPOB getting tough with rogue planters and middlemen, 23,000 Sarawak Smallholders Licensed To Sell FFB

PAS bids Anak chief goodbye but vows to keep helping group Published: June 16, 2015 04:07 PM GMT+8; PAS bids Anak chief goodbye but vows to keep helping group Published: June 16, 2015 04:07 PM GMT+8 Share this article - See more at:

MPOB getting tough with rogue planters and middlemen — Uggah Posted on May 24, 2015, Sunday; SRI AMAN: The Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) has received 300 complaints of theft from oil palm planters with 13 people caught, 24 planters given show-cause letters and eight vehicles confiscated. Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas revealed that the cases were recorded in Miri and Sibu areas. “For this, I am giving a warning to factories not to buy stolen oil palm fruits from any unknown parties and we have directed factories to have a record of fruit bought from genuine licensed planters,” he said at a press conference after officiating at the Transformation and Development Programme for small oil palm planters in Sarawak held at Hotel Sri Simanggang here yesterday. “We also do not allow these planters to sell two tonnes at one time in a month and 24 tonnes a year. There is a system where the factory must refuse to buy fruits from planters when it has exceeded two tonnes   he added.Uggah also wants collection centres to submit reports to MPOB with a list of sellers including the tonnage and the centre’s total purchase figures.

‘Ops Sawit Kenyalang’ a success — Sulim Posted on May 25, 2015, Monday SIMUNJAN: Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB)’s `Ops Sawit Kenyalang’ that was launched last July has achieved remarkable success with at least 800 new licences issued monthly to smallholders throughout the state. MPOB Sarawak regional head Sulim Lumong said the monthly 800 new licencees represented an increase of 600 new licencees when compared to the figure before the launch of the special operation. “For the month of April this year, we approved 1,414 applications. Up to date, we have 23,000 licenced smallholders with a total area of 140,188 hectares for the whole of Sarawak,” he said when met by reporters at a new palm oil plantation site at Kampung Sg Alit here yesterday. Sulim pointed out that the big increment happened after the government implemented the ‘two tonnes per hectare’ policy. “A lot of smallholders did not apply for the licence because they can tumpang (ask help for sale) here and there. When we implemented the policy, they cannot sell already. So they got no choice but to apply.” He said farmers were not required to register when they first started out, but a smallholder licence must now be acquired before they could sell the fresh fruit bunch (FFB). Read more:

RM1 million federal aid for 95 oil palm smallholders by Lim How Pim, Posted on May 25, 2015, Monday; SIMUNJAN: Ninety-five smallholders in Kampung Sg Alit here have received federal subsidies totalling over RM1 million for planting oil palm. Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said the subsidies were for land preparation and purchase of seedlings, fertilisers and pesticides. “The total area is 118 hectares and RM9,000 is given per hectare. This is for a period of two years and should enable the smallholders to produce fresh fruit bunch (FFB),” he said when met by reporters after presenting the subsidies to representatives at Kampung Sg. Alit, about 100km from Kuching yesterday. Present was Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nancy Shukri. Uggah said the government also granted subsidies of RM3,000 per hectare for smallholders who were not participants of the Smallholders Development and Transformation Programme. Each family is entitled to such subsidy for a maximum of three hectares. “We notice some smallholders are keen to plant oil palm so they buy seedlings and do land preparation themselves. But along the way they have problems buying the inputs, and that’s where we come in to support them. Read more:

23,000 Sarawak Smallholders Licensed To Sell FFB  Published on Monday, 25 May 2015 07:35; SIMUNJAN -- Some 23,000 smallholders in Sarawak are licensed to sell oil palm fresh fruit bunches (FFB) as of April this year, said Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas. He said this involved 140,188 hectares of land cultivated with oil palm. "In July 2014, when the Ops Sawit Kenyalang crackdown was launched to curb theft of FFB, only about 200 smallholders had the licence. "Since then there was a rush for the licence. We are very strict now, all millers and collection centres must submit names of sellers of FFB each month the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB)," he told reporters after handing over oil palm seedlings to farmers of the Kg Sg Alit Oil Palm Cluster in Simunjan, Sunday.

23 June 2015: Palm oil a matter of national security for Malaysia (especially for smallholder interests) - opinion - /khorreports-palmoil/2014/11/rspo-meeting-sabah-considering-100.html

22 June 2015: While the FGV-EHP proposed deal has raised market concerns, an argument for the deal: it is a strategic partnership to benefit smallholders and other stakeholders?
FGV-EHP partnership: a way forward to prosperity for two nations – HS Dillon Published: 20 June 2015 12:49 PM; The recent press statements reporting that Felda Global Ventures (FGV) intends to buy a substantial stake in EHP, and the ensuing debate, revive old memories. It is indeed remarkable that what had been my dream as a senior official of Indonesia's Ministry of Agriculture, thwarted by vested-interests nearly quarter of a century ago, is now being promoted by visionary entrepreneurs.
Obsessed with creating greater equality in rural Indonesia, I gladly welcomed my appointment as Head of The Team for Restructuring State-owned Plantations in 1993. Due to strong support from the then very honest minister of finance, Marie Muhammad, we managed to consolidate the previous 26 separate corporate entities into nine plantation groups. Talking to the press after the brief meeting, the PM stated that Malaysia, facing land constraints, had no other option but to invest in oil-palm plantations in Indonesia. We then started to explore avenues for cooperation with senior Malaysian officials, including private placement into our state plantations. With the best Malaysian plantation management practices, utilising state-of-the-art technology, and good corporate governance, we could have launched an IPO within five to six years after entering into such a partnership. Therein, the Malaysian investors would have reaped relatively quick yields, and our state-owned plantations would have ranked among the best. Of course, the powers that be in Indonesia, gleaning rents from the status quo, did not allow this to materialise; but that is a different story.... Most of the current exchange has revolved around whether the Heads of Agreement signed last week by the two parties is commercially sound, in the narrow sense of generating immediate profits for their shareholders....But that which has been omitted from the exchange is what interests me the most: the smallholders and other stakeholders. This is more than just another B2B deal, it is a People-Private Partnership on both sides. Most observers apparently are not aware of the genesis of FGV, and do not realise that more than a 100,000 members of Felda are shareholders. Around 60 years ago, former prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman decided to launch a massive initiative to help poor rural households climb out of poverty, who at point were not very different from their Indonesian cousins.....Education and rural infrastructure managed to lay the foundations of a productive middle-class. Now the descendants of the erstwhile poor Malaysian smallholders have become bosses, with oil-palm holdings being tended by the progeny of the still poor rural Indonesian households. Indeed, by overcoming rent and wage barriers to expansion, this FGV-EHP partnership should enable Felda members to continue earning handsome returns, but around the same number of Indonesian smallholders already partnering with EHP in contract-farming schemes, also stand to benefit.....FGV institutional memory would be better suited to striking rapport with rural Papuan households, for instance, than the colonial institutional memory inherited by a number of Indonesian plantation managers.....What would be the repercussions, or what economists call second-round effects? Other Indonesian plantation groups might enter into such partnerships to remain competitive...

1 May 2015: The Corporate Capture of Sustainable Development by Leslie Sklair; /khorreports-palmoil/2015/05/the-corporate-capture-of-sustainable.html

29 April 2015: Could the fall in palm oil prices be good news for farmers?

Also on Felda settler smallholders here: /khorreports-palmoil/2015/04/felda-settlers-study-sneak-peak.html

Could the fall in palm oil prices be good news for farmers? By Jaboury Gazoul  Apr 24 2015
Thus when the palm oil price declines, so does fertilizer affordability. The capital and credit available to large commercial oil palm companies buffers them from low prices, and allows them to continue to purchase and apply fertilizer. Capital and credit are not so readily available to smallholders. Even when smallholders have ready access to fertilizers through links to companies, their fertilizer costs are deducted from their Fresh Fruit Bunch sales to these companies. Consequently, smallholders have been reducing fertilizer inputs, and yields on smallholder plantations in Indonesia are declining. The gap between the success of large company plantations and that of smallholders is widening
..........The situation in Africa is very different. In West Africa, the development costs of large palm oil estates are more than twice as high as in Indonesia. These ventures are profitable only if the price of palm oil remains high. With low prices, these actors are now rethinking their investment and development strategies. Many projects have greatly downsized, postponed or abandoned oil palm development altogether. Structural factors such as the availability of, and access to, land for development is a key limitation, but this has been exacerbated by the current low prices for palm oil. Some companies, however, have sought to increase partnerships with the smallholder sector through outgrower schemes. Such schemes comprise a central milling facility that is supplied by smallholders who receive inputs and technical assistance from the company. In this way, the industries can meet their production targets while shifting the burden of development onto smallholders who become indebted to banks for the extended credit. Smallholder debts are gradually repaid as the Fresh Fruit Bunches are delivered to the industrial mill. In the past governments had to “force” companies to engage with smallholders, but today outgrower schemes are high on the companies’ agenda. This opens a window of opportunity for small-scale farmers to enter the sector, benefiting from a more level playing field. It also, however, exposes them to higher risks. If the palm oil price continues to drop, smallholders might prove unable to repay their Cameroon, smallholders will have room to grow, but limited support will stymie their efforts to do so. The new National Strategy for the Development of Sustainable Palm Oil Production will likely oblige companies to work with smallholders, but the extent and depth of this obligation remains uncertain.....In Colombia, the combination of low palm oil prices and bud rot disease, which afflicts around 25% of the planted area, affect the viability of the oil palm sector, reflected by the recent decline in the oil palm expansion. High production costs already make the sector heavily reliant on governmental incentives. Low prices and widespread disease is sapping the political will for continued support of this sector (an issue that is further complicated by government negotiations with rebel groups who hold sway in some areas where oil palm is grown). At present, smallholders and other producers are buffered from low international prices by a national price stabilization fund and import tariffs (and a large domestic biofuel market), but this only serves to increase the sector’s dependency on government support to maintain market competitiveness............So the effect of palm oil price declines on smallholder communities varies by region. It is not always bad, but neither is it obviously good. In Africa at least, concerns about massive ‘land grabbing’ by oil palm companies in Africa are somewhat alleviated for now. Smallholders might capitalize on this hiatus, but only if they can overcome the barriers to entry. Ironically, it is company outgrower schemes, as developed in Indonesia and increasingly in West Africa, that might be the means by which these barriers are overcome. Should this be achieved, then preferential expansion of oil palm by smallholders might hold the seeds for a more equitable distribution of economic benefits. It might also allow for more heterogeneous and patchy landscapes, which is good for biodiversity. This possible future needs support and facilitation by large oil palm companies, producer states, but also by corporate buyers who have social responsibility to promote livelihood and environmental sustainability......This article is published in collaboration with ETH Zurich. Publication does not imply endorsement of views by the World Economic Forum....

16 February 2015: RSPO certification and compliance cost cited at just over RM400,000 per site per year (50 smallholders @50 hectares)

Info cited of a real quote on smallholder RSPO certification costing from a service provider. About RM400,000 per site per year; for a site comprising 50 smallholders of 50 hectares each. We did ask, but the name of service provider is not disclosed at this point. We know a handful are active in this sector. The conclusion is that the current premia indicate break-even for such a smallholder (assumes 100 percent of certificates sold under mass balance); which means no incentive to certify unless with the financial support of a large company. Bottom line: companies with processing assets can garner more from RSPO certification; the premia gains are out of reach of smallholders.
First posted here on 14 Feb 2015: /khorreports-palmoil/2015/02/attended-mpoc-forum.html

Note: The lack of incentive for smallholders then ties in with the rising effort of large companies to create special support programs. Olam has been active on smallholder projects - its core business is about gathering numerous products from many smallholders. Also note the Danone and Mars project below.

12 February 2015: Danone and Mars move on smallholder sustainability and livelihoods with fund - debt finance, farmer incomes, carbon credits...

Danone and Mars launch £79m fund for smallholder farmers The Guardian - ‎Feb 5, 2015‎
Fund will prioritise key crops including vanilla, cocoa, sugar and palm oil, but Oxfam says multinationals need to improve everyday dealings with smallholders... This content is sponsored. by Oliver Balch. Thursday 5 February 2015 07.29 EST.... Danone and Mars, two of the world’s largest food multinationals, yesterday announced their intention to invest €120 million (£79m) over the next decade in an investment fund aimed at increasing the productivity of smallholder farmers.... The Livelihoods Fund for Family Farming will make between four and five investments per year, averaging around €3-5m (£2.3m-£3.8m) each. The projects, which will span Africa, Latin America and Asia, will focus on low-tech, sustainable farming practices that are easy to adopt and quick to scale.... The rationale behind focusing on the world’s 500 million family farmers is self-explanatory, according to Victoria Mars, chairman of the board at the eponymous US confectioner whose brands include M&Ms, Twix and Snickers. Smallholders make up over 70% of the world’s production of raw materials, she notes: “So if we’re going to have all the ingredients we need to make our products, we have an interest in helping them.”.... Danone and Mars hope other companies will follow their lead and invest additional equity in the fund. Likewise, the two companies are talking with government agencies and international lenders about possible debt finance.... the returns are unconventional. For starters, social and environmental factors weigh alongside economic concerns. Key output measures of those projects backed by the fund, for example, will comprise increases in farmer incomes, improvements in farmer livelihoods and benefits to the environment (especially carbon emissions mitigated or sequestered through reforestation).... Any financial returns will be used to repay any debt raised, with the remainder reinvested in future projects. In some cases, private investors may also be eligible for carbon credits that can be traded or used to offset their emission reduction obligations.... The fund isn’t entirely without precedent. In 2011, Danone launched a carbon investment fund, which has today grown to around €40m and counts nine other corporate investors, including Schneider Electric, Crédit Agricole and Hermès. The fund has so far financed the planting of 130m trees that it claims will sequester an estimated 8m tonnes of carbon dioxide....