While most express anger and demand reforms from the industrial plantation owners, many will be surprised to know that the palm oil industry is not dominated by large corporations. Small-scale rural farmers who are not linked to any companies, more widely known as ‘independent smallholders’, are responsible for about 40-50% of the global palm oil production . For these independent smallholders, oil palm cultivation has provided an income, lifted millions of rural households out of poverty and reduced inequalities between urban and rural populations. Therefore, smallholder farmers are critical players and must be included in the sustainable and conflict-free palm oil narrative.
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