Smallholders Representation Working Group Update - October 2019
Two workshops have been successfully held. More than 20 rubber smallholders from all over Indonesia - Kalimantan, South Sumatra, West Sumatra and Jambi gathered during the workshop in October 7th - 9th. The workshop in Thailand just finished with a fruitful discussion on collaboration opportunities between rubber smallholders and GPSNR.
Several challenges of sustainable natural rubber production were brought up and discussed among rubber farmers and GPSNR members, but front and foremost was the issue of livelihoods and future of labour. After the field visit and 3 days workshop, the rubber farmers both in Indonesia and Thailand agreed that to solve such issues, smallholders should be put at the center of the solution. They agreed that including smallholders’ representatives in the new governance model is the way forward to achieve this. As for the criteria of the organizations, apart from having a personnel with extensive knowledge around rubber from cultivation, transportation to processing, the farmers also said that it is important that any representing organization should have a democratic governance. The smallholders also pointed out to a few farmers from different regions that could directly represent smallholders in GPSNR. A few organization names were also proposed which will then be followed up by Smallholders representation working group to ensure active engagement for further collaboration.
"I am happy to hear that the downstream of natural rubber users like tire makers wish to establish a direct relationship with the upstream natural rubber producers like us. Personally I believe that sustainable supply chain will work only when every actor in the chain work together to find potential solutions together." said one rubber smallholder in Thailand. Smallholders also emphasised on the importance for engagement to be long term if results are to be achieved.
The dates for the last 3 smallholder workshops have been confirmed and will be held in Brazil (20 - 21 Nov), Cote d'Ivoire (26 - 28 Nov) and Vietnam (16 - 18 Dec) respectively. The aim of the workshops is to gain a better understanding of smallholders, how smallholders can be meaningfully represented within GPSNR and to further explore the future of sustainable natural rubber production from a smallholders perspective at local level.
We will keep you posted on our progress in our upcoming newsletters. Stay tuned !