First RSS field test starts in Indonesia

The first field test of the RSS (Responsible Sourcing from Smallholders) framework got under way in Indonesia in March, and there is already much progress and interesting developments to observe.

The initiative involves a cooperative of independent oil-palm smallholders in Jambi Province, Sumatra. They will be working with ProSympac, which is building a mill in the area and plans to source from these smallholders. ProSympac is leading the RSS process as the 'Implementing Entity', in conjunction with the Makarti cooperative and with the support of SNV, which is also SHARP's Regional Focal Point for southeast Asia.

The RSS framework is a tool for supply chain companies to engage with smallholders and work together towards more sustainable environmental and social practices. Click here for an overview.

Activities so far have included planning sessions with ProSympac, informal risk and needs assessments and community dialogue, and the start of a training programme focused on improving yields and agricultural practices. The training, delivered by SNV, will contribute to meeting farmers’ needs under Pillar 2 of the process. Click here to see SNV’s report on the training so far.

Some early points of interest for SHARP partners and other readers:

  • One of the objectives is to use RSS as a stepwise approach towards ISCC certification. The stakeholders have begun to identify particular measures that are important under that standard, for possible inclusion within Pillar 1 of the process.
  • The involvement of SNV to implement part of the work is an example of RSS as a multi-partner process.
  • The partners are identifying potential members of an Advisory Board, which is a key structure to ensure effective consultations and local buy-in to the RSS process (see RSS overview). Time management and logistical considerations are important here, as community members often have their own farms and businesses to run.
  • On the subject of farmers' needs, in Indonesia, independent smallholders like those in Makarti cooperative are separate from outgrowers connected to palm-oil mills through the government-supported plasma scheme, and as such may have particular needs to be addressed through an RSS process.

Further training is planned for the end of April, at which time ProSympac and SNV will also discuss the Advisory Board and complete the risk and needs assessments. SHARP will report on progress on the early trials of RSS in Jambi and elsewhere in the months ahead.

Image: Dani Rahadian, SNV.

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