Precautionary practices and mobile app help Honduran smallholders manage HCVs

In Honduras, application of SHARP tools and approaches is gathering pace. SHARP’s regional focal point, Proforest is working with palm oil company Jaremar and smallholder association UNPALA using the RSS framework as a step-wise approach to smallholder certification. A key aspect of this work is scaling up the application of the simplified precautionary practices approach for smallholder management of HCVs, which has included recent field testing of a prototype app to help group managers understand and assess risks to HCVs.

In December 2015, a simplified High Conservation Value (HCV) approach for independent smallholders with established plantations was approved by the RSPO. The endorsement means that small palm oil producers looking to achieve RSPO certification can use the simplified approach to comply with criterion 5.2 of the RSPO standard 

The approach has been developed through extensive field trials with smallholders, including initial validation of the approach with smallholders in Honduras. Supported by Proforest, the smallholder association UNPALA and palm oil company Jaremar has now extended the precautionary practices approach to HCV management to reach more than 500 smallholders with plantations covering 4,250 ha. 

In addition, a new HCV approach for smallholders with plans to expand their plantations (RSPO criterion 7.3) has been field tested in Honduras. The approach is based on probability of HCV presence and consequence risk of HCV loss in the context of oil palm expansion. Where the risk of HCV loss is low, a simplified but still rigorous approach to HCV assessments and management is being developed.  

Field trials included testing of a new smallholder app allowing group managers to identify and manage HCVs

The field trials also included testing of a newly developed smallholder app and dashboard allowing for collection of sustainability data from the field to assess the probability that HCVs are present and in need of protection. The app will help smallholder group managers to identify social and environmental risks, make decisions on how to manage them, report findings and keep track of group member information. 

Field work took place in September with 13 technical support staff and smallholder group managers from Jaremar and UNPALA. Data was collected through visits to smallholder farmers and was later used in trialling the dashboard. The pilot was successful and delivered valuable lessons for further refinement of the approach, enabling more realistic estimates of the time required for training and user support and informing further adjustments to match app functionality to context.  

Filed under: ,