Virtually, Kaoem Telapak met three accredited assistants to the members of the European Parliament on Monday, 20 June 2022. They are Alexander Weilgos, Tammy Schmitt, and Andrea Schierbaum.
The meeting aims to provide space for independent smallholders and indigenous peoples’ groups to provide opinions regarding the due diligence proposal or the Europe Union Due Diligence Regulation (EUDDR).
The EUDDR proposal is a draft law from the European Union Parliament which aims to reduce deforestation and environmental degradation. This proposal will ensure that six commodities, one of which is palm oil and its derivative products, that enter the EU market do not come from deforestation and environmental degradation activities.
“We agree with the EUDDR, but we need time,” said Rukiyah from the Forum for Sustainable Oil Palm Farmers (Fortasbi). She also argued that if the EUDDR standard is too complicated, the independent smallholders will not comply with it. According to Rukiyah, independent smallholders need information, support, and time to implement this rule.
Rukiyah also said when the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) began to disseminate to the independent smallholders, many challenges arose. It included changing fertilizers, planting methods, and workers management.
Siswadi from the Cahaya Putra Harapan Association (ACPH) Jambi revealed that when it came to due diligence, the problem lies in funding. “Smallholders need support. They can not walk alone,” Siswadi said. He hoped the European Union would not make it difficult for independent smallholders to access the EU market.
Marcel from the National Oil Palm Farmers Union (SPKS Nasional) also added that this regulation needs to be detailed so that farmers also know what the standards used by the European Union are.
Mochtar from SPKS Sekadau said that EUDDR is a new thing. “We were just given information from Kaoem Telapak about two months ago,” he said. Mochtar has concerns regarding this rule. He is concerned about the definition of smallholders or smallholders who call the area of self-supporting land under two hectares.
Mochtar also said that independent smallholders already have commitments to protecting forests, one of which is by issuing village regulations. The policy prohibits deforestation in ancestral forests. He also hopes the European Union will provide smallholders who comply with EUDDR with incentives. The incentives can be anything, whether funding, programs, or other assistance.
Meanwhile, Andre Barahamin, Senior Campaigner at Kaoem Telapak, expressed the hopes of the indigenous people. “Indigenous peoples hope that the EUDDR give positive impact in advocating, recognizing, and fulfiling the rights of indigenous peoples, especially regarding customary areas in Indonesia,” said Andre.