Sustainable Palm Oil

Project description

Title: Sustainable and Climate-Friendly Palm Oil Production and Procurement (SCPOPP) in Thailand
Commissioned by: The Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety (BMU)
Countries: Thailand
Lead executing agency: Department of Agriculture (DoA), Department of Agricultural Extension (DoAE)
Overall term: 2018 to 2022


Thailand has a high proportion of smallholders working in the palm oil production: they farm over 80 per cent of the total area under oil palm production. In general, smallholders have limited knowledge of sustainable farming practices such as improving fertiliser use and recycling EFBs, limited access to high quality seeds and lack sufficient capital to be able to improve their farms. As a result of these constraints, smallholders in Thailand grow relatively poor-quality produce with low yields, resulting in the inefficient oil extraction rate (OER) in the mills. To date, only a few partnership agreements between stakeholders in the value chain have attempted to address these problems. Support for a broad-based training programme for smallholders is thus vital in order to advance the production of sustainable palm oil, as is the establishment of partnership agreements aimed at tackling the problems of smallholders and oil mills alike. 

Currently, only around 2 per cent of Thailand’s entire palm oil output is produced by RSPO-certified smallholders and palm oil mills. The large-scale rollout of intensive smallholder training courses is proving difficult for the government. This is due, among other things, to budget constraints as well as to a shortage of well-qualified national instructors. Capacity deficits also exist in the areas of greenhouse gas (GHG) monitoring and reporting, which means that GHG emissions, reduction potentials cannot be tracked or documented. As a result of these requirements, the Thai Government is also looking at ways in which the certification process can be expanded more rapidly, e.g. through the certification of an entire jurisdiction. However, there are as yet no schemes in place to put this into effect.


The national governments and relevant stakeholders are successfully mainstreaming sustainable and climate-friendly production in Thailand.


The project closely cooperates with Thai governments to    

  • Enhance palm oil small-scale farmers’ capacities in achieving an internationally recognised sustainable palm oil standard (i.e. RSPO) through an intensive Training of Trainer curriculum  
  • Increase the demand of sustainable palm oil through creating partnerships with private sector along the value chain 
  • Develop instruments or tools for monitoring and reporting GHG reduction potentials resulting from small-scale farmers adopting the appropriated GHG reduction practices
  • Formulate a policy framework upscaling sustainable and climate-friendly production towards a “Jurisdictional approach”

Additional information