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What Does Palm Done Right Mean?

Palm Done Right is about farmers first.

Palm done wrong has a cascade of negative effects on farmers, and their wellbeing is not valued in a supply chain where the sole focus is the bottom line. They are often displaced from their homes, and have personal or communal lands taken from them. If they are allowed to supply their own palm fruit to a company, they are paid paid low prices for it. 

The result is an unfair and inequitable trade system that traps farmers in a cycle of poverty.

Palm Done Right, on the other hand, has a cascading positive effect on farmers. Fair Trade practices—fair prices and wages, empowerment, cooperation and community— elevate farmers from not having control in the system to being partners in creating a more sustainable supply chain.

Fair Prices and Wages

Creating an equitable system for small farmers—and non-farm workers connected with the supply chain—is a major part of Palm Done Right. According to the Fairtrade Foundation, small farmers produce more than 70% of the world’s food supply, yet represent over 50% of the world’s hungriest people. Palm Done Right aims to break that cycle.

Small farmers make up 50% of the world's hungriest people, yet they produce more than 70% of the world's food supply. Palm Done Right aims to break that cycle.

Certifications like Fair For Life address this issue by requiring buyers to guarantee certified growers both a minimum price that covers all cost of production and guarantees a profit, even when the market price falls below that threshold. Farmers also receive a price premium above market price for the organic premium. In addition, the buyer pays a fair trade premium into a separate fund that a fair trade committee—including farmers and workers—decide democratically how to use.

Fair Trade buyers often sign supply contracts with growers and offer advance crop financing to help with stability and long-term growth. Details vary with local conditions, but the idea remains the same: Build and maintain long-term trading relationships on fair terms.

The benefits of Palm Done Right extend beyond farm too, where those involved in processing the palm oil receive better wages, safe working conditions, protection against social injustice and child labor, a respectful working environment, training and more.

Empowerment

But Palm Done Right is more than just fair prices; it’s about empowering farmers with the knowledge, access and resources to make their own choices about how best to improve their livelihood and community.

A Palm Done Right farmer in Sierra Leone displaying a poster of organic practices outside his home.

One of the main keys to success in raising small farmers out of poverty is promoting sustainable, organic farming practices. Rather than relying on an endless stream of inputs, farmers learn how to employ organic practices like natural pest management, multi-cropping, and composting—all of which use material already generated by the farm—to nurture the soil, reduce environmental impact, and make crops more productive, profitable and resilient.

Cooperation & Community

The best way to empower farmers is to combine education and cooperation. When buyers invest in growers through education and guidance, and then foster the sharing of ideas and best practices through cooperatives, associations and forums, farmers become active players in the system, and active stewards of their land, their crops and their communities.

Farmer, Franklin Zambrano, with his family and the Natural Habitats agronomists he collaborates with.

Read the stories of how Palm Done Right has improved life for farmers.