A joint project between the RSPO (which provided funding) and Solidaridad West Africa-Côte d’Ivoire, will be implemented in the next three years to target 5,000 Ivorian smallholders to help sustainable palm oil production become the norm, the RSPO announced on 3 February.

The certification programme will be one of the largest ever conducted on behalf of smallholders.

Côte d’Ivoire is Africa’s third largest palm oil producer. The government has led an initiative since 2012 to increase production from 400,000 tonnes/year to 600,000 tonnes/year by 2020. The RSPO said the certification programme would help to guarantee this increase in production took place sustainably.

A workshop was help in Abidjan in December last year, which gathered around 35 delegates including smallholders, co-ops, the Interprofessional Palm Oil Association, millers, environmental NGOs and technical advisory agencies.

The RSPO said participants shared concerns about the requirements for establishing groups and the conditions needed to align beneficiaries with the programme, and likely areas of intervention were presented.

It said it expected that the programme would sustainably increase yields in Côte d’Ivoire through best management practices. The project would also give farmers the opportunity to attend training sessions and be part of a farming management transformation process that guaranteed positive social and economic impact in their daily lives.