MALAYSIA – IOI Loders and Kerry Group in collaboration with Wild Asia and Fortuna Palm Oil Mill have entered into a partnership to implement Small-Growers Support Program with an aim to boost small farmers’ productivity.

Farmers with 0-500Ha land will be involved in IOI’s supply chain and these groups will support them in putting in place sustainable agricultural practices.

This will help IOI Group deliver on its corporate responsibility and sustainability initiatives as the company’s commitment to developing employees, surrounding communities and the environment.

The program also guides the IOI’s directly sourced third party supplying mills comply with IOI’s Sustainable Palm Policy in a way to build a traceable, transparent, sustainable palm oil supply chain.

In the meantime, the program serves to prepare them to achieve global standards and certification for sustainable palm oil.

While Kerry Group and IOI Loders Croklaan will manage the program, Wild Asia will be responsible for project implementation.

“We have a few potential participating non-RSPO certified mills in the Telupid, Beluran and Kinabatangan landscape (Sabah) with approximately 5000 smallholders and small growers.

We start with one mill – Fortuna – and will increase the number throughout the duration of the program,” said Ben Vreeburg, Sustainability Director at IOI Loders Croklaan.

Ben Vreeburg added that with the program, smallholders will see a decrease in Fresh Fruit Bunch (FFB) production costs in the first year and a gradual increase in FFB yield in the second year.

The program assures millers of a steady supply, better control of fresh fruit bunch and a higher extraction rate.

Increasing the current yield of smallholders would work to increase FFB production up to 50% and helping farmers get sustainable manufacturing practices would not only increase productivity but also improve their living standards.

In addition to helping Kerry work more closely with its suppliers, mills or palm growers, the program will also help meet their sourcing commitments.

“This partnership gives us a more direct influence on practices at mill and farm level in the project area.

Alongside our broader requirements on palm oil, the program aims to deliver a positive impact for communities and workers within our supply chain,” said Maarten Butselaar, Responsible Sourcing Manager at Kerry Group.