Measures for increased forest and water protection and the restoration of healthy soils New project of FONAP e.V. supports smallholders in Indonesia
Measures for increased forest and water protection and the restoration of healthy soils
New project of FONAP e.V. supports smallholders in Indonesia
27 members of the "Forum Nachhaltiges Palmöl e.V." (Forum for Sustainable Palm Oil) (FONAP) are intensifying their commitment in Indonesia, the largest producer market for palm oil. Together with the local palm oil forum for smallholders FORTASBI, they are implementing a new pilot project on Sumatra in the province of Jambi. Locally, the project is being carried out in close cooperation with the non-governmental organizations Setara Jambi and Cappa. In the sixth year since FONAP was founded, the FONAP members are thus setting a concrete example of what a sustainable palm oil economy can look like.
A pilot project, initially designed to run for twelve months, is intended to support smallholders in palm oil cultivation to operate more sustainably. The project pursues concrete ecological and social goals: Measures are planned to preserve the forest within the framework of so-called social forestry, whereby, for example, alternative sources of income are developed through the supplementary cultivation of native crops by the village community. The cultivation of these plants is carried out by local women's groups, who are given the opportunity to generate their own income. In order to improve the water quality of the local Pengabuan River, green buffer zones are to be created along the banks. For this purpose, it is intended to establish a joint binding regulatory and action framework with the communities concerned, the farmers, other economic partners, civil society, politics and administration in a local multi-stakeholder process. The entire process is to be accompanied scientifically. In addition, a regenerative agricultural concept in oil palm cultivation promotes soil health: On demonstration plots, participating farmers learn to build up biological fertilizer and their own humus from cow dung and empty palm oil fruit bunches.
The project region on the island of Sumatra borders the Bukit Tiga Puluh National Park, which is one of the last refuges for endangered species such as the Sumatran orangutan, the Sumatran tiger and the Sumatran elephant. The work on site intends to indirectly help maintain the buffer zone in front of the park and minimize disruptive impacts, including those from unsustainable palm oil cultivation.
"With the pilot project we are planning, we are for the first time pursuing an approach that also involves local government and administrative structures and is intended to be effective in a larger, coherent area," explains Vice Chairman, Sascha Tischer.
The project is in line with the goals of the new German government, which intends to step up its efforts to combat deforestation in connection with agricultural commodities. The Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) also underline their ambitions in these areas through their membership within FONAP. The Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture, Cem Özdemir, likewise focused on the issue at the EU Agriculture Council in Brussels in January. With regards to the protection and preservation of existing forest areas, he explained: "Agricultural raw materials such as soy, palm oil, beef, cocoa and coffee, which we consume in Germany and Europe, contribute to deforestation and forest degradation worldwide. We want to put an end to this; global supply chains must be deforestation-free."
The members of FONAP take their responsibility in the global supply chains seriously and act together as pioneers for improved social, economic and ecological conditions in the growing countries. Through their voluntary commitment to use only certified palm oil, they send a clear signal to consumers, politicians and, above all, to the producing countries. With voluntary additional criteria, the alliance also goes beyond the requirements of the standard systems it accepts - such as ISCC or RSPO: In addition to protecting biodiversity in cultivation areas, the FONAP members want to work more intensively towards the integration of smallholder farmers in global supply chains and exercise human rights due diligence.
"Deforestation is a problem of global scope. That is why we have been working since the founding of FONAP to make the palm oil supply chain more sustainable and also to achieve targeted improvements in the producing countries," says FONAP Chair Almut Feller, adding, "With the project we are planning, we are underscoring these efforts and making a visible contribution to supporting smallholder farmers on the ground."
About the Forum for Sustainable Palm Oil
The Forum for Sustainable Palm Oil (FONAP) is a multi-stakeholder partnership consisting of over 50 German companies, associations, non-governmental organizations, the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The FONAP Secretariat is coordinated by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the association.
The goal of FONAP is to promote sustainable agricultural supply chains with a focus on palm oil. Since its formation in 2015, FONAP has been committed to more sustainable palm oil cultivation in the countries of origin. The aim is to increase the uptake of certified sustainable palm oil in food, feed and chemical products and to incorporate and apply human rights along the entire supply chain. Companies bring themselves into the multi-actor partnership to address challenges such as upholding their human rights due diligence obligations as well as certification issues together - and not just in-company. Various participation formats are open to FONAP members, such as exchanging ideas at professional events, participating in working groups, or supporting a FONAP smallholder project.