Smallholder Empowerment Initiatives




SmallholdersIndependent smallholders are self-financed, managed and equipped, and are not bound to any one mill. Wilmar is not in a position to impose certification requirements on them. However, we recognise that independent smallholders account for a significant proportion of the total smallholder oil palm production in Indonesia and Malaysia, and we are working through various projects and initiatives to be more inclusive of independent smallholders in our supply chain.

We are working directly with independent smallholders in Indonesia and helping them to achieve RSPO group certification in Sumatra. These initiatives enable these smallholders to forge a more permanent relationship with our mills.

Particularly in South Sumatra, we are working on using RSPO certification as leverage for enabling smallholder financing for replanting, as sustainable certification means independent smallholders are less risky, and more likely to be able to have long-term relationship with mills that are RSPO-certified.


In Malaysia, we are working with Wild Asia, a Malaysian social enterprise, to help independent smallholder suppliers in Sabah attain RSPO certification. As of 31 December 2015, there are 201 RSPO-certified smallholder suppliers in the Wild Asia Group Certification Scheme (WAGS). These represent around 1,230 ha of planted area and supply around 3,000 MT of CPO and 675 MT of palm kernels annually.

Smallholder training sessionAt the end of 2015, we expanded the project in collaboration with L’Oreal to include other downstream buyers to strengthen the demand for certified FFB from smallholders. The project aims to reach 500 smallholders and assist them in achieving certification by 2020.

The programme includes two types of incentives – monetary and technical. In the first, the smallholder receives a direct premium for FFB sales to Wilmar mills and an additional premium of any RSPO-certified CPO volumes purchased by the next tier buyer. The premiums help to encourage smallholders’ interest in sustainability efforts and increase the physical flow of RSPO-certified FFB to CPO. The second incentive is the provision of agronomic advice and extension services to committed smallholders to raise productivity. Both incentives create a ‘reward loop’ for smallholders to continue with sustainable practices.

Further to these, Wilmar has also set up a fertiliser scheme which is available only for members of the WAGS programme. This scheme helps these smallholders obtain fertilisers at wholesale prices, with application advice and continued monitoring by Wilmar. This scheme is offered as one of a series of incentives for smallholder farms in the certification programme.

Wilmar has been actively exploring innovative approaches to allow independent smallholders to access affordable financing for replanting. The direct benefits for smallholders include increased income through higher productivity, improved access to market, and more sustainable agricultural practices. Wilmar will also benefit from the increased future supply of sustainable palm oil production from smallholders and increased loyalty from independent smallholders.

Independent smallholders face many challenges in obtaining affordable financing for replanting, particularly if they lack formal land titles. Delays in replanting will result in decreased yields and income loss.

Wilmar has been exploring innovative risk-sharing models with financial institutions, NGOs, consumer business companies and independent smallholder cooperatives to lower the cost of financing. We are also in discussions with several sustainability-focused financial institutions who may be able to offer better interest rates to smallholders.

Developing a multi-stakeholder solution to provide independent smallholders with affordable financing to replant is crucial in order to maintain future supply of sustainable palm oil, while lowering deforestation pressures. For such solutions to be replicable and scalable, they also need to be commercially viable.

Wilmar Supports Sustainable Entrepreneurs (WISSE)

WISSE is the fourth smallholder development programme initiated by Wilmar Europe in Latin America. As a result of the successful WISSH programme in Honduras, Wilmar Europe now takes a next step by bringing smallholders towards RSPO and ISCC certification.

This programme started in September 2019 and is a programme implemented for the smallholders supplying four Honduran mills: Palmasa, Asapalsa, Hondupalma and Honducaribe. In this three year programme, more than 1,800 smallholders will be trained on how to be a sustainable entrepreneur. Out of these, WISSE aims to bring 900 smallholders to certification.

WISSE is the first programme under the Mariposa initiative, which is a crowdfunding project created by Olenex, a Wilmar-ADM joint venture, for its customers. By implementing programmes like WISSE, Olenex customers directly contribute to change on the ground in the palm oil industry in Latin America; a great example of #SharedResponsibility.

Wilmar Small Growers Support Colombia 2 (WISSCo2)

In January 2019, Wilmar Europe in alliance with Olenex, C.I.Biocosta, and NES Naturaleza have started the third smallholder program in Latin America, and the second in Colombia, called WISSCo2.

These smallholders are supplying to five Biocosta mills located in the northern zone of Colombia. A total of 440 smallholders, owning a total area of 9,300 hectares, are expected to benefit from this 2-year programme.

Besides capacity building on sustainability topics, WISSCo2 assists the smallholders in identifying gaps with certification standards compliance, and create technical knowledge to close those gaps, as well as to create awareness on the benefits of sustainable production.

  • WISSCo2 Final Report - March 2021
  • WISSCo2 Progress Report - July 2019
  • WISSCo2 Progress Report - December 2019


    Wilmar Smallholders Support Colombia, WISSCo2

    Wilmar Small Growers Support Colombia (WISSCo)

    Modelling the success of the WISSH programme, Wilmar Europe has partnered with the Sustainable Trade Platform-Solidaridad and NES Naturaleza to launch WISSCoin Colombia. This programme reaches independent smallholders and small growers supplying to 11 mills, focusing on growers with land be low 50 hectares.

    WISSCo is the first programme supporting independent oil palm growers in Colombia. This programme was launched in August 2017 and comprise a series of six training sessions. In total, WISSCo targeted to reach out 261 small growers, covering a total area of 26,000 hectares.

    Like the WISSH programme, WISSCo also aims to enhance smallholders' and small growers’ capacity to implement good environmental and social practices in accordance with Wilmar's No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation (NDPE) policy.

    WISSCo Summary Report 

    WISSCo Program

    Wilmar Smallholder Support in Honduras (WISSH) Programme

    Honduras is the third largest palm oil producer in Latin America and an important palm oil supplier to Europe. Smallholders play an important role in palm oil production, owning more than 40% of total planted areas in Honduras.

    Smallholder training programme in Honduras

    The Wilmar Smallholder Support Honduras (WISSH) programme is a partnership between Wilmar Europe and The Industrial Association of Palm Oil Producers in Honduras (AIPAH). This program is supported by Olenex, a Wilmar-ADM joint venture, and Nestle.

    WISSH aims to enhance smallholders' technical capacities on best agricultural management practices in order to bring about better environmental outcomes as well as increasing yields and income. The WISSH programme is built upon the principles of Wilmar's No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation (NDPE) policy.

    The WISSH programme has a cascade structure; its objective is to train supervisors of the mills under AIPAH, who will subsequently train their supplying smallholders. 

    The WISSH program was launched early 2016 and officially ends in October 2018. After 3 years of implementation, the programme has successfully completed its objective with 3,300 smallholders trained on multiple sustainability topics over 448 training sessions.  

    WISSH Progress Reports:

    WISSH by Wilmar