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Supporting smallholders through multi-stakeholder initiatives

Smallholders are an important part of many agricultural commodity supply chains. But often they do not have the resources and know-how to meet companies’ requirements related to responsible production. Companies need tools and approaches that make it feasible to include smallholders in their supply chains, and at the same time to meet their commitments on responsible sourcing.

Proforest supports multi-stakeholder initiatives that develop tools to help companies and smallholders work together to ensure production practices are demonstrably responsible.

The SHARP (Smallholder Acceleration through Responsible Production and Sourcing) Partnership is a neutral, multi-stakeholder platform of companies and civil society organisations that serves as a catalyst for collaboration across supply chains in Southeast Asia, Latin America and West Africa. Proforest hosts the Secretariat of the SHARP Partnership.

What does the programme do?

Through collaboration with the SHARP Partnership and other initiatives, the programme:

  • Develops, adapts and disseminates practical open-source tools that enable companies to engage with their smallholder suppliers
  • Convenes and provides technical support for partnerships and collaborations that scale up application of these tools to supply shed level.
  • Facilitates learning across commodities and geographies to address emerging issues around smallholder integration into responsible supply chains.

What has the programme achieved?

Through the SHARP Partnership the programme has successfully:

  • Developed two approaches for engaging with smallholders: the Responsible Sourcing from Smallholders (RSS) approach and simplified High Conservation Value (HCV). These have been field tested with 6 companies working with more than 2,000 smallholders on 3 continents, in palm oil, rubber, sugar cane and soy.
  • Received RSPO endorsement of the simplified HCV approach for independent smallholders.
  • Supported scaling up approaches, including work with Proctor & Gamble and Proforest Malaysia to develop a model for moving palm oil smallholders towards sustainability.
  • Compiled and analysed examples of palm oil company–smallholder working arrangements from around the world. 

Implementation and funding partners

Implementation partners for the SHARP Partnership include SHARP Regional Focal Points (Rainforest Alliance, SNV, Proforest Latin America); the Advisory Committee (Olam, Sime Darby, Fauna & Flora International, IDH); and private sector partners for field implementation (Procter & Gamble, Nestlé, Prosympac, Jaremar, Wilmar, Ghana Rubber Estates Ltd, and NORPALM)

The programme receives financial support from UK Department for International Development (DFID) Forest Governance Markets and Climate Programme, IDH Sustainable Trade Initiative, and Proforest Ltd.  

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