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Mentoring Smallholders Towards A Sustainable Supply Chain, The Smile Programme Achieves RSPO Certificate For The Third Year

By November 22, 2023March 15th, 2024No Comments

22 November, 2023 – The SMallholder Inclusion for better Livelihood & Empowerment (SMILE) programme, launched in 2020, has been successful in uplifting smallholders and supporting sustainable practices in Indonesia’s palm oil industry. With a focus on inclusivity and collaboration, the programme is proud to announce the achievement of its third cooperative receiving the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) Certificate at the 2023 RT RSPO Meeting in Jakarta, which brings a total of 628 Independent Smallholders (ISH) from the programme certified.

Smallholders play a vital role in Indonesia’s palm oil sector, contributing significantly to the country’s total palm oil output. However, they face numerous challenges in meeting the rigorous sustainability criteria while striving to increase production. As independent smallholders’ today account for less than 20 percent of the total certified smallholder, the challenge is clear. Recognizing the importance of addressing these difficulties, Apical, Asian Agri, and Kao partnered to launch the SMILE Programme.

The SMILE Programme plays a very significant part of Asian Agri and Apical’s 2030

sustainability commitments towards inclusive growth. Through the SMILE Programme, smallholders like Sutoyo, the head Asosiasi Petani Sawit Swadaya Anugrah in Batanghari, Riau Province, who is responsible for 238 members with a total land cultivation of over 571 hectares, have found guidance and support in their journey towards sustainability. Sutoyo’s cooperative has overcome significant hurdles to achieve the RSPO Certification, a testament to their commitment and the mentorship provided by the programme.

“Sutoyo’s story exemplifies the power of collaboration and resilience,” said Ivan Novrizaldie, Asian Agri Sustainability Head. “With steadfast determination, Sutoyo and his cooperative embraced sustainable practices, addressed audit challenges, and emerged successfully with the RSPO Certificate. Their achievement highlights the importance of trust and a shared belief in finding solutions.”

Sutoyo explains that it the journey was not easy at first, since many of his members didn’t understand sustainability, but the efforts from the representatives were tremendous, helping and mentoring the members in every challenge they encounter, and providing them with all the best solutions to make the trainings and audit become achievable.

The SMILE Programme has been instrumental in providing essential training and assistance to smallholders, empowering them to adopt sustainable practices. By focusing on inclusivity and ensuring that no smallholder is left behind, the programme aims to elevate the industry’s sustainability standards.

“We believe that sustainability is a shared responsibility and that by fostering inclusivity, we can make a difference, and the only solution is through strong trust and collaboration spirit,” emphasized Bremen Yong, Apical’s Sustainability Director.

“The SMILE Programme is not just about the positive impacts we have achieved, but also the collaborative efforts nurtured throughout the supply chain. Sutoyo’s success symbolises the significance of SMILE’s continuous efforts to ensure that smallholders are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills for ensuring sustainable good agricultural practices.”

RSPO Provides Full Support for the SMILE Programme
RSPO fully encourages and supports the SMILE collaboration among palm oil supply chain actors in capacity building for independent smallholders in Indonesia.

“This leading initiative offers a significant business model that contributes towards our collective aspiration of empowering smallholders to improve livelihoods and increasing independent smallholders’ inclusion to achieve fully sustainable palm oil,” said Guntur Cahyo Prabowo, Head of Smallholders Program Indonesia.

SMILE Programme Heads to Third Phase
As the SMILE Programme enters its third phase, it remains committed to the mission of empowering smallholders and driving sustainable practices in the Indonesian palm oil industry. Through continued mentorship, training, and collaboration, the programme aims to uplift more cooperatives, enabling them to achieve the RSPO Certification and contribute to a resilient and sustainable palm oil sector.

About Apical

Apical is a leading processor of edible oils with a growing global footprint. Our vertically integrated mid-stream refining and value-added downstream processing make us an integral supplier supporting the needs of various industries namely food, animal feed, oleochemicals and renewable fuels, including sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) which enables major reduction in CO2 emissions.

To date, with integrated assets in strategic locations spanning Indonesia, China and Spain, Apical operates a number of refineries, oleochemical plants, biodiesel plants and kernel crushing plants. Through joint ventures, Apical also has processing and distribution operations in Brazil, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, the United Arab Emirates, the United States and Vietnam.

Apical’s growth is built on a foundation of sustainability and transparency, and is motivated by a strong belief that we can make an even more meaningful impact as we continue to grow our business and provide innovative solutions to our customers.

For more information, please visit:

Media Contacts :
Corporate Communications, Apical Group

About Asian Agri

Asian Agri is one of the largest palm oil producers in Indonesia. Founded in 1979, the company currently manages around 100,000 hectares of plantation land and employs more than 20,000 people. As the pioneer of the Indonesian government’s Trans-National Government Migration (PIR-Trans) program, currently Asian Agri is working with 30,000 plasma farmers in Riau and Jambi who operate 60,000 hectares of oil palm plantations, and independent smallholders who manage more than 39,000 hectares.

By implementing a strict no-burn policy since 1994 and sustainable plantation management practices, Asian Agri helps partner farmers to increase productivity, crop yields, supply chain traceability, while supporting them to obtain certification. The Asian Agri factory applies the best technology utilizing independently produced green energy, in order to minimize greenhouse gas emissions.

All business units under Asian Agri have obtained ISPO (Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil) certificates.

Currently, Asian Agri’s core plantations in North Sumatra, Riau & Jambi Province as well as plasma farmer plantations in Riau & Jambi Province are 100% RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) certified. At the same time, ISCC (International Sustainability & Carbon Certification) has been achieved by all plantations both owned by Asian Agri and its assisted farmers.

Asian Agri’s success in becoming one of the leading CPO producing companies has been recognized

internationally with ISO 14001 certification for all its operations (CPO factories and KCP). The Learning Institute in Pelalawan, Riau, as well as the nursery center in Kampar, Riau, have also been certified ISO 9001. In addition, the Asian Agri research and development center in Tebing Tinggi has also obtained certification by the International Plant – Analytical Exchange at the WEPAL lab at Wageningen University in Dutch, to high standards.

Media Contacts :
Corporate Communications, Asian Agri