After holding activities in Sekadau and Sorong, the Batanghari Regency of Jambi became the location for the next FGD. Kaoem Telapak held a Focus Group Discussion (FGD) regarding the impact of the European Union Due Diligence Regulation on Independent Smallholders, Indigenous Peoples, and Local Communities. The FGD was held on 7 June 2022. The event was attended by participants from independent oil palm smallholders and groups of Indigenous Peoples who live around the oil palm estate areas.
In addition, the representatives of the Batanghari Government also attended the FGD. They represented the Regional Development Planning Agency (Bappeda) and the Plantation Service. Several local Batanghari CSOs, who have been advocating for oil palm issues, attended the event too.
Andre Barahamin, Senior Forest Campaigner of Kaoem Telapak, said that the participants were surprised to learn that there was a regulatory process that would have an impact on them. The policy is discussed in the European Union. “This is because there is no information about this. So the FGD conducted by Kaoem Telapak is the first time they heard about the EU Due Diligence Proposal,” said Andre.
After hearing the explanation about EUDDR, Andre said the participants understood it. The proposal of due diligence regulation in the European Union would become an additional burden for farmers. It is because they have many international market standards that they need to follow, such as the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).
“This is why the farmers propose the European Union formulate the standards for palm oil by considering the RSPO certification. They considered the Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil System (ISPO) as a palm oil standard is not strong enough, even though it is mandatory, it is different to the voluntary RSPO,” he said.
As for local governments, Andre hopes the due diligence regulation can provide producers who practice environmentally friendly methods in making their commodities some kind of incentive. So the smallholders in the producer country can fulfil the due diligence standards. “The incentives can be as subsidies to farmers and other affected groups so that they can be empowered,” said Andre.
Furthermore, during Kaoem Telapak conducting Due Diligence FGDs at three locations, Andre said an aspiration kept showing on from the participants. The participants hoped the due diligence regulation was supposed to not only clean up supply chains within the European Union but also positively gave impact the improvement and strengthening of some related policies in Indonesia.
The Follow-Up Plan after the Batanghari FGD is follow-up socialization from representatives of independent oil palm farmer associations and indigenous peoples to their members. “They hope more detailed information, in simpler language, which Kaoem Telapak and a network of other companion groups can facilitate the socialization process,” Andre concluded.
Editor: Teguh Affandi