Using paraquat for weed control in oil palm plantations can address a number of the criteria for sustainability defined by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). These include protecting soil and water quality, and reducing erosion. As part of a wider approach, smallholders undergoing RSPO certification are being shown how to grow more profitable crops while using all inputs more effectively and safely.
Worldwide, 33% of palm oil is produced from crops grown by smallholders. In Thailand, however, smallholders supply 70% of the palm oil produced in the country, so this important group of growers has been a focus of attention for improving sustainability1.
The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil
Facts about Thai oil palm smallholders
120,000 farmers in Thailand grow oil palm
98% of these are smallholders
76% of land under oil palm in Thailand is cultivated by smallholders
7 hectares average holding size
70% of production is supplied by smallholders
Oil Palm (Elaeis guineenis) is the leading crop in the global production of vegetable oil. It provides by far the highest yields per hectare, typically 5 to 10 times that of crops such as soybeans, sunflower and canola (oilseed rape). Palm oil also has the particular quality of being a saturated fat and semi-solid rather than liquid at room temperature.