Costs and benefits of certification of independent oil palm smallholders in Indonesia

S. Hutabarat, Maja Slingerland*, P.I. Rietberg, L.K.E. Dries

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Sustainable certification schemes have surged in years. The introduction of these schemes poses serious challenges to smallholders. One such certification scheme is the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), which uses certification to increase equitable and sustainable production of palm oil. This study calculates upfront and recurrent costs and monetary benefits of RSPO certification of the Amanah Independent Oil Palm Smallholders Association in Ukui District, Indonesia. Survey and interview data was collected between 2013 and 2015. Results show that upfront costs of certification were 86 euro per hectare. Furthermore, despite generating up to 21% higher revenues from sales, certification created up to an 8%loss of net income per hectare on average per smallholder in the first year after certification, compared to the situation prior to certification. To motivate smallholders for RSPO certification, the economic performance of certified oil palm smallholders should be improved. This can result from further yield increases, a guaranteed premium price or the sales of GreenPalm certificates to provide additional income.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)681-700
JournalInternational Food and Agribusiness Management Review
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 8 May 2018


  • RSPO
  • certification
  • smallholders
  • Indonesia
  • oil palm
  • costs and benefits


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