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Family Agriculture

Since 2002 we have encouraged the Family Agriculture Program. Currently, the Program assists 192 families of small farmers who own 6 to 10 hectare of palm plantation.

In the years of 2000’s, the company engaged with 185 family farmers, several governmental agencies and a smallholder union, in a way to negotiate a formal contract, explain the risks and duties of each signatory part and assess the wiliness of families to be part of such project (many of them did not want to participate, used their right to say no and were not involved in the initiative).

The project was carefully explained to the community and to the families, whom took an informed decision (the ones who decided to engage and the ones who decided do not participate). After the families have agreed to engage, the general contract was signed by the smallholder association, smallholder union, Agropalma and the governmental agencies. Plantations were established only after the contract being signed, in the years of 2002, 2004, 2005 (with 50 families each year) and 2006 (35 families).

In 2013, more five families decided to engage in the program, but in their own private land. As before, a contract was negotiated, explained and signed before the family farmers establish their plantations.

The company provides seedling, fertilizers, tools and PPE at cost price as well as technical assistance and ensures the purchase of the whole production at market price.

Socio-environmental studies have shown that, within benefitted communities, the Family Agriculture Program has improved environmental performance, including activities not directly related to palm cultivation, such as reduction of wild animals hunting.

In 2019, besides the 192 family farmers (100%), Agropalma also received FFB from 42 integrated outgrowers (100%) and 1 independent supplier (100%). This independent supplier is Belem Bioenergia Brasil, a palm oil company located in the municipality of Tailândia (2°48'45.76"S, 48°56'59.19"W).

Agropalma is still open to engage new FFB suppliers as integrated family farmers or outgrowers. In order to do that, company has due diligence process used to assess, among others, the following topics:

  • Deforestation liabilities according RSPO rules, by running a land use change analysis (we do prioritize producers without liabilities);
  • Land rights and documentation;
  • Compliance environmental law requirements (permanent protection areas, legal forest reserve);
  • Compliance with labor laws
  • Compliance with health and safety requirements.

In 2019 company has achieved its target to have all family farmers and integrated outgrowers certified according RSPO and verified according POIG standards. This situation is not static, since new suppliers could be engaged in the future. If it happens, our target is the new supplier be certified within 3 years from the engagement date and the milestones are the compliance with RSPO and POIG indicators.

Despite the audits and certification process, all FFB suppliers are assessed every three months by our own team. Deforestation, use of forced or use of child labor result in immediate suspension of the purchasing contract. In case of deforestation or forced labor, the contract is terminated within one month after suspension. In case of child labor, if the farmer does not fix the situation up to the next harvesting round (10-15 days), the contract will be terminated within one month after this harvesting round. Lack of compliance or progress toward with the requirements listed above will also result in contract suspension and termination, within maximum 2 years after the issue is identyfied, depending on the issue.

Beyond supporting the family farmers and integrated outgrowers to adopt the best management practices and comply with the best sustainability standards, Agropalma is also fully committed to the food safety. For this reason company have commissioned a census in 2013, which revealed that 88% of the family farmers schemed with Agropalma have other lands than the oil palm crops where they grow several different food crops. Since 2014, with the launch of the POIG Charter, company is committed to engage in new plantings respecting a rate of 0.5ha per person in the family for food crops cultivation, beyond the oil palm planted are. More recently, in 2018 and 2019 company and some of the FFB suppliers started to trial Agroforest systems, mixing oil palms with other crops in the first years after plantings.