The RSPO is currently supporting several local initiatives to develop a system to support certification at a jurisdictional level for the sustainable production of palm oil. This approach is expected to lower the entry barrier for smallholders to participate in the sustainable palm oil supply chain through wider multi-stakeholder collaboration, reduced transaction costs, and provision of government support. It is currently being piloted at the sub-national level in both Malaysia and Indonesia.

An Oil Palm Smallholder Farmer explained how to identify level of ripeness of an oil palm fruit and the best time for harvesting during the Heart of Borneo Annual Event in Telupid, Sabah organized by Forever Sabah.

Implemented in

  • Asia / Pacific
  • Indonesia
  • Malaysia

Sectors of activity
Agricultural and Fishery, Food & Beverage, Scientific Research, Development and Innovation

Type of initiative
Capacity Building & Implementation, Education & Awareness Raising

283294 US$

Start date

End date

Shared by

Dillon Sarim

Strategic Project Executive (Sr.)

RSPO Secretariat

Send an email


Central to this project is the aim to create enabling environments, and the improvement of production practices which improves livelihoods and provides protection to the environment. The project is leveraging existing government support and commitment in Sabah and Central Kalimantan, as well as multi-stakeholder collaboration towards common objectives. This is aligned with the work areas and focus themes of the SFS Programme and directly related to targets under SDG 2 and SDG 12 on sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources, minimising pollution, strengthening capacity to move towards more sustainable patterns of production, increasing productivity and incomes of smallholders and ensuring sustainable food production systems.

This project plays an important role in creating different types of intervention models to support smallholders in adopting more sustainable agricultural practices and increasing their readiness for certification. In turn, this will increase their productivity, market access for their products and improve their livelihoods. Since this project is linked to a wider roadmap for jurisdictional approach to certification in two landscapes that are important for palm oil production, its success will be key in advancing jurisdiction certification for the whole of Sabah and Seruyan as well as serve as models for other jurisdictions to follow suit.


Seruyan, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia

The smallholder farmers in the Seruyan district are operating at 30% less productivity than other oil palm growers. Sustainability and certification adds a significant requirement that smallholders in Seruyan are unable to achieve without external intervention. This project will support the establishment of an Agricultural Facility to support smallholders in Seruyan district. The pilot project proposed here would develop rigorously researched model for the Facility, and establish a train-the-trainer program for 100 farmers who will later upscale the program to train 1,000 farmers.

Sabah, Malaysia

In Sabah, the project will trial a set of four intervention activities with approximately 2,000 smallholders in 20 selected villages in the Telupid, Tongod, Beluran and Kinabatangan districts (TTBK). This region has been selected because it represents a wide range of circumstances for a large concentration of smallholder. Assessments are conducted to establish village committees who act as focal points for capacity building and resource management programmes. A link between mills and smallholders is established through consultations to enable capacity building programmes around Best Management Practices in the oil palm industry.

Impact and Results

The success of this project will result in the improved livelihoods for at least 50,000 schemed and independent smallholders in Sabah and 5,311 independent smallholders in Seruyan. The interventions would also be scaled up to the jurisdictional level and enable all the smallholders to achieve certification. Further, RSPO is developing a jurisdictional certification system for palm oil production with global applicability and thus can further expand the adaptation and adoption of the project outputs in other regions.

Next steps and how to get involved

For further information on this initiative, kindly contact

The RSPO is open to collaborating with any organizations that share similar concerns and mission towards smallholders livelihood improvement in the oil palm industry. Should you wish to contribute and take part in realizing the RSPO Smallholders Strategy (, please contact the RSPO at