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Project for sustainable certified coconut oil production improves lives of more than 4,100 smallholder farmers in the Philippines and Indonesia


BASF, Cargill, Procter & Gamble (P&G) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH have cooperated in a development partnership under the programme commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to establish a certified coconut oil supply chain and improve the livelihood of coconut farmers in the Philippines and Indonesia.

The combined expertise of the partners helps ensure the success of the Sustainable certified coconut oil production (SCNO) programme. The private partners share their understanding of the market mechanisms and trends, while GIZ contributes its expertise in training of farmers and promoting sustainability standards. Between October 2015 and October 2019, more than 4,100 coconut farmers have been trained in Good Agricultural and processing Practices (GAP) as well as Farm Management practices. About 1,600 farmers received additional training and have been certified against the Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Agriculture Standard. Farmers who were trained and certified, have on average a 47% higher income than farmers who didn’t participate in the programme.

Improved income and productivity

The results show that trained farmers have a higher productivity than non-trained farmers, with certified farmers reaping the biggest benefits. According to an endline survey carried out by an independent provider of market research and consulting services, the joint project has proven that certified coconut oil production is making a difference in farmer’s lives. Certified coconut farmers harvest more and have a productivity which is 26% higher in comparison to non-involved farmers. Coconut oil production levels increase, and developmental benefits are achieved, contributing towards better living conditions for the coconut farmers and their families

One of the farmers, Natividad Beligolo from Sarangani Province, Philippines, said: “I earned additional income which is a big help to our family to sustain our everyday lives - more food on the plate and education for our children.”

The first certified sustainable coconut oil

The first Rainforest Alliance Certified™ coconut oil has been produced in 2018 with the support of this partnership. The certified coconut oil was made possible by establishing a transparent supply chain according to the Rainforest Alliance Chain of Custody standard on mass balance level that fosters the administrative flow of certified raw materials within the supply chain and supports farmers to produce more sustainably. Rainforest Alliance Certified coconut farms must meet comprehensive requirements for sustainable agriculture that built on the three pillars of sustainability – environmental protection, social equity, and economic viability. Rainforest Alliance certified farmers have an effective planning and management system in place, conserve biodiversity and natural resources and improve livelihoods and human well-being. Christiane Hornikel, Program Manager Coconut at Rainforest Alliance, said: “We are extremely happy that the coconut farmers have improved their income through the support of the partnership. We look forward to the collaboration continuing so that more and more farmers can benefit from Rainforest Alliance certification.’’

The development partnership

The Philippines and Indonesia are the world’s two largest producers of coconuts and exporters of coconut-based products. The coconut growing regions belong to the least developed areas and host the largest number of rural poor. The farmers are mostly smallholders or tenants with less than four hectares of land and limited access to know-how and means of financing. The programme gives these smallholder farmers a way to address their main challenges which include little or no economies of scale, lack of financing and training resources as well as a rigid supply chain. 

Jonathan Sumpaico, General Manager, Cargill Grain & Oilseed Supply Chain, Philippines said: “We are able to significantly improve the economic opportunities and living standards for farmers and their families through this partnership. In turn, we are lifting up their communities, which are primarily in rural and developing areas. Cargill will continue to scale our support, based on the great work already achieved with smallholder coconut farmers to increase their agricultural productivity and incomes while advancing the supply of sustainable coconut oil in the world.”

Ina Boos, Project Manager, Sustainable Certified Coconut Oil at BASF, said: “With the first Rainforest Alliance Certified™ sustainable coconut oil in place, we have reached an important milestone on the way establish certified sustainable supply chains and improve the livelihood of smallholder farmers. We are proud of the achievements we have made together with our partners over the last few years.”


About BASF

At BASF, we create chemistry for a sustainable future. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. The approximately 122,000 employees in the BASF Group work on contributing to the success of our customers in nearly all sectors and almost every country in the world. Our portfolio is organized into six segments: Chemicals, Materials, Industrial Solutions, Surface Technologies, Nutrition & Care and Agricultural Solutions. BASF generated sales of around €63 billion in 2018. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchange in Frankfurt (BAS) and as American Depositary Receipts (BASFY) in the U.S. Further information at

About Cargill

Cargill’s 160,000 employees across 70 countries work relentlessly to achieve our purpose of nourishing the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way. Every day, we connect farmers with markets, customers with ingredients, and people and animals with the food they need to thrive. We combine 154 years of experience with new technologies and insights to serve as a trusted partner for food, agriculture, financial and industrial customers in more than 125 countries. Side-by-side, we are building a stronger, sustainable future for agriculture. For more information, visit and our News Center.

About Procter & Gamble

P&G serves consumers around the world with one of the strongest portfolios of trusted, quality, leadership brands, including Always®, Ambi Pur®, Ariel®, Bounty®, Charmin®, Crest®, Dawn®, Downy®, Fairy®, Febreze®, Gain®, Gillette®, Head & Shoulders®, Lenor®, Olay®, Oral-B®, Pampers®, Pantene®, SK-II®, Tide®, Vicks®, and Whisper®. The P&G community includes operations in approximately 70 countries worldwide. Please visit for the latest news and information about P&G and its brands.

About the programme

The programme was set up by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to foster the involvement of the private sector at the point where business opportunities and development policy initiatives intersect. Through, BMZ provides companies investing in developing and emerging countries with financial and professional support by public partners like Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.

About GIZ

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is a federal government-owned corporation with worldwide operations. It supports the federal government in international cooperation for sustainable development and in international education work. GIZ is also engaged in international education activities around the globe. GIZ assists people and societies in shaping their own future and improving living conditions.

About the Rainforest Alliance

The Rainforest Alliance is an international non-profit organization working in more than 60 countries at the intersection of business, agriculture and forests. The organization aims to create a better future for people and nature by making responsible business the new normal. By bringing farmers, forest communities, companies and consumers together it addresses some of the most pressing social and environmental challenges of today. The organization changes the way the world produces, sources and consumes, with a focus on cocoa, coffee, tea, bananas, forest products and palm oil through its certification program, tailored supply chain services, landscape and community work and advocacy. In 2018, seven million hectares of land are under Rainforest Alliance or UTZ agricultural certification and more than 2 million certified farmers are certified with one of these two standards, which are designed to improve economic, environmental and social sustainability.

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