A sustainable coconut oil project involving US agribusiness giant Cargill, German chemicals firm BASF and global consumer goods corporation Procter & Gamble (P&G) has resulted in certified farmers earning 47% more in income in the Philippines and Indonesia.

The combined expertise of the partners helped ensure the success of the Sustainable Certified Coconut Oil production (SCNO) programme, Cargill said on 13 November.

Between October 2015 and October 2019, more than 4,100 coconut farmers were trained in Good Agricultural and Processing Practices (GAP) as well as farm management practices. About 1,600 farmers received additional training and were certified against the Rainforest Alliance’s Sustainable Agriculture Standard.

Farmers who were trained and certified had, on average, a 47% higher income than farmers who did not participate in the programme, Cargill said.

Certified coconut farmers also harvested more and productivity was 26% higher in comparison to non-involved farmers.

The first Rainforest Alliance certified coconut oil was produced in 2018 with the support of this partnership.

Certified farms had to meet comprehensive requirements for sustainable agriculture relating to environmental protection, social equity and economic viability.

The Philippines and Indonesia were the world’s two largest producers of coconuts and exporters of coconut-based products, Cargill said.

Farmers were mostly smallholders or tenants with less than 4ha of land and limited access to know-how and financing. The SCNO programme gave them a way to address their main challenges.

Jonathan Sumpaico, general manager, Cargill grain and oilseed supply chain, Philippines said: “Cargill will continue to scale our support, based on the great work already achieved with smallholder coconut farmers to increase their agricultural productivity and incomes while advancing the supply of sustainable coconut oil in the world.”

The programme was commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.