MINNEAPOLIS, U.S. – Cargill, in collaboration with the international nonprofit Solidaridad and the Colombian-based international trading company, C.I. Biocosta S.A., announced today a new palm oil smallholder sustainability program in Colombia aimed at improving agricultural practices and farmer livelihoods.
The two-year effort will strengthen operations in cooperation with more than 480 palm farmers through training and technical assistance.
This is Cargill’s first initiative in Latin America focused on responsible palm oil production. With Solidaridad and Biocosta, which is Cargill’s supplier base for producers and mills, Cargill will promote the adoption of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil’s Principles and Criteria.
This will enable smallholders to increase productivity, profitability and market access with sustainable practices and eco-label certification.
“This program supports Cargill’s commitment to building a 100-percent transparent, traceable and sustainable palm supply chain by 2020,” said Robert Horster, global trading director for Cargill’s Edible Oils Solutions.
“Our goal is to stimulate inclusion of Colombian farmers in the global palm oil market, boosting their livelihoods and establishing best practices in sustainable agriculture.”
The producers in northwest Colombia who are involved in the program will receive direct training and support on good agricultural practices and improved farm management techniques covering key areas of health and safety, and environmental and social impact management.
“Solidaridad is pioneering sustainable approaches in the region and, through this engagement with Cargill and Biocosta, will ensure new economic opportunities for smallholders and the implementation of sustainable practices,” said Maria Goretti Esquivel, palm oil programme manager of Solidaridad Colombia.
“The participation of international buyers, like Cargill, in this kind of initiative is key to fostering sustainability in the palm oil supply chain and advocating for changes in the sector.”
Biocosta, a leader in Colombia’s palm oil exports, includes about 700 smallholder farmers, accounting for nearly 50 percent of palm oil production in the northern region and driving socio-economic development.
Palm oil is one of the three main crops cultivated in Colombia after coffee and bananas. As the market for palm oil production in the country expands and brings economic growth to the region, best practices in agriculture, occupational health and environmental management are critical. In parallel with the new program, Cargill, Biocosta and Solidaridad will conduct a social and environmental impact study to evaluate high conservation value land and assess deforestation risks to fully integrate palm oil farmers into sustainable supply chains.