Collaboration with Solidaridad and Biocosta will strengthen operations with more than 480 smallholder farmers.
Photo courtesy of Cargill.
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA, U.S. — Cargill has launched its first initiative in Latin America focused on responsible palm oil production. In partnership with the international nonprofit Solidaridad and the Colombian-based international trading company, C.I. Biocosta S.A., Cargill has introduced a new palm oil smallholder sustainability program in Colombia aimed at improving agricultural practices and farmer livelihoods. The two-year program is expected to strengthen operations in cooperation with more than 480 palm farmers through training and technical assistance.

Solidaridad and Biocosta are Cargill’s supplier base for producers and mills, and together the companies expect to 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, Cargill said.

“This program supports Cargill’s commitment to building a 100% 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.”

According to Cargill, 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 program 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 is a leader in Colombia’s palm oil exports. The company includes about 700 smallholder farmers, accounting for nearly 50% of palm oil production in the northern region and driving socio-economic development.

Solidaridad is an international civil society organization with more than 45 years of global experience in facilitating the development of socially responsible, ecologically sound, and profitable supply chains. Solidaridad works across 13 supply chains and operates through 10 regional offices on five continents.