Wild Asia’s sustainability workshop is prepping the first group of EMPA ( East Malaysia Planters Association) small growers to meet the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) standard.
Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia: Wild Asia is proud to announce that the first group of students have completed Wild Asia Academy’s “Sustainability Leaders” series workshop. The workshop is designed to enhance the understanding of the social, environmental and management principles of sustainable management of farms to meet the MSPO Sustainable Palm Oil Standard. Spanning six sessions, the course includes interactive workshops, site visits and participatory activities.
The course is part of Wild Asia’s strategy to continuously support the Malaysian palm oil industry and specifically small growers, those who own plantations between 41 to 500 hectares. These small growers are largely SMEs and family-run businesses. The emphasis on these growers is crucial as they make up a good proportion of most palm oil mills’ external supply.
With the mandatory certification for all Malaysian oil palm growers slated for 2019, this course is timely and provides an opportunity for small growers to tap into Wild Asia’s knowledge on sustainability standards, amassed over the last decade.
The course was first mooted by EMPA to assist their members who are technically not smallholders, and yet not large enough to build the internal capacity to meet the management requirements of MSPO standard.
These small growers’ challenges include the lack of technical know-how and qualified personnel, limited financial resources, bureaucracy hurdles, lack of infrastructure support, for example in waste management, and the pressure to meet the June 30 deadline.
Wild Asia has been working on RSPO certification for smallholders for the last 7 years and we feel there is no similar support for these group of growers. They lack the resources or the access to affordable technical support to meet formal certification standards.
“This group is eager to learn but due to their limited resources, they will likely face a number of financial challenges in meeting the national deadline,” says Dr Reza Azmi, Executive Director of Wild Asia.
“Wild Asia bridges an important gap and makes technical information accessible at a low and affordable price. It means streamlining resources so that smallholders can focus on only one thing – better production,” Reza adds This is after all part of our social mission.”
Wild Asia is working to incorporate these members into our annual certification programme by the end of 2019. These members will play an important role as role models for their neighbours, the community and the EMPA association. In line with Wild Asia’s strategy, we hope to see growers wanting to “do good” and to see it as a way to future-proof their own businesses. Beyond focusing on certification, this initiative will have a far greater impact in the long run.
EMPA, one of the oldest planters association in Malaysia, the association was first established in 1889, and is instrumental in maintaining a working network for small producers in Sabah. EMPA is located at Lot 38-1F, Jalan Dataran BU 4, Bandar Utama, Mile 6, Labuk Road, P P M 62 Elopura 90000 Sandakan, Sabah.
About Wild Asia’s Academy for Growers
Wild Asia Academy’s Sustainability Leadership Programme is an education programme for owners and managers of oil palm farms to understand the fundamentals of sustainable management. The students will gain a better understanding of major sustainability requirements, common to both MSPO and RSPO standards. The programme is delivered in interactive workshops, and will include practical exercises and site visits. Check out the online module here.
About Wild Asia
Wild Asia is a not-for-profit social enterprise founded in Malaysia. Our goal
in palm oil is to increase the growth of traceable and sustainable
palm oil. Our Palm Oil Initiative was established in 2005 to develop approaches and methods to enable the production of sustainable palm oil. The Wild Asia Group Scheme (WAGS) programme is one of the ways we work directly with oil palm growers.
For more information: http://oilpalm.wildasia.org