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German giants support plan for Indonesian palm oil industry

Staff Writer |
Henkel and BASF are cooperation with the development organisation Solidaridad to support a project to increase the yield for oil palm in Indonesia and training for 5,500 local farmers.

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Sustainable farming methods, efficient production and high occupational health and safety standards are some of the most important conditions for certified palm oil production.

Smallholders can learn how to fulfill these requirements locally in dedicated training programmes. Since 2015, Henkel has been supporting the 5-year-project in the Indonesian province of West Kalimantan.

Earlier this year, BASF joined the effort as an additional industrial partner. The smallholder programme is implemented by Solidaridad in cooperation with its partners Good Return and Credit Union KelingKumang (CUKK).

The Australian non-governmental organisation Good Return coaches and supports the teachers who carry out training on the ground and who will continue the farmer support programme after the project ends. The teachers are employees of CUKK, the second largest local credit organisation in Indonesia.

Solidaridad and its partners want to establish sustainable supply chains for palm and palm kernel oil that both effectively improve smallholders' living conditions and are eligible for certification according to the criteria of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

Of the 5,500 farmers who will be reached by the project, 1,600 will learn about the different aspects of good agricultural practice (GAP) in direct training that will include measures for sustainable farming as well as for increasing crop yields.

Furthermore, around 3,900 smallholders will be reached not only through a multiplier effect, but also through farmer field days and regular text messages on their mobile phones. The project spans an area of roughly 16,000 hectares.