Fighting for ecological justice

The European Union’s Definition of Smallholders Worries Independent Smallholders

In a meeting of Kaoem Telapak with three accredited assistants to Members of the European Union Parliament on Monday, June 20, 2022, Independent smallholders were concerned about the definition of Smallholders in the proposal of the Europe Union Due Diligence Regulation (EUDDR).

“Something we are worried about if the Due Diligence (EUDDR – ed) is implemented, regarding the land area of independent smallholders,” said Mochtar, a small independent farmer from Kabupaten Sekadau, West Kalimantan.

Mochtar, the Chairman of the Sekadau Oil Palm Farmers Union (SPKS Sekadau), revealed that oil palm is different from other crops. “Half a hectare planted with oil palm, the yield is small,” he said.

European Union’s regulation on renewable energy, known as the Regulation of the EU Renewable Directive, defined a smallholder or independent smallholder as a farmer who manages a land area of no more than two hectares.

Smallholders cultivated their palm fruits

“In fact, under the RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) mechanism, the area can be up to 25 hectares,” said Siswadi, a small independent farmer from Batanghari Jambi.

Andrea Schierbaum, accredited assistant to Members of the European Union Parliament, said that the issue of hectares owned by independent smallholders is interesting. According to her, building up the definition is pivotal for the regulation. “We will consider the input,” he said.

Meanwhile, Alexander Wielgos, accredited assistant to a member of the Parliament of the European Union, said, “To be honest, the exact definition of smallholders has not been discussed yet”.

Furthermore, Wielgos admitted that he was happy to hear input from the participants of this forum regarding the issue of the land area because the perception of smallholders in one country could be different from another. He also revealed that using the land area as the only indicator is not inclusive enough. “We will look for how to define smallholders better,” he said.


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