May 2024
Restoring forests: Palm oil smallholder project
Together with the international civil society organisation Solidaridad, the ALDI SOUTH Group and ALDI Nord have completed a four-year smallholder project in Côte d'Ivoire. The aim was to promote the sustainable cultivation of palm oil in the area and prevent deforestation.

Smallholders face high administrative burdens and costs in producing sustainable palm oil. The ALDI SOUTH Group believes it is important to support smallholders by equipping them with the tools and knowledge that will enable them to get access to sustainable palm oil production.

Smallholder farmers in palm oil production

Approximately 40% of the world's traded palm oil is produced by smallholder farmers. Many smallholders face difficulties in accessing the global supply chain. This is often due to land rights issues, insufficient finance, poor access to markets and information, and a lack of training.

Given that Côte d'Ivoire is a newer area for palm oil cultivation, the ALDI SOUTH Group launched an innovative project that focused on paving the way for more sustainable practices in the region. Our goal was to increase opportunities for smallholder farmers to participate in a sustainable palm oil production.

Challanges when sourcing palm oil

Compared to other vegetable oils, palm oil has a much higher yield, which makes it highly attractive to many producers and purchasers around the world. Its cultivation is frequently criticised for causing deforestation. Rainforest areas have been cleared to grow palm oil thus endangering wildlife, and threatening the environment.

Find out more about the goals and actions of the ALDI SOUTH Group to ensure a sustainable palm oil production and prevent deforestation.

Protecting and restoring forests

The joint project focused on improving smallholder farmers' knowledge of best environmental practices and on farming methods that respect High Conservation Values (HCV) and natural forests. Solidaridad offered training through Farmer Field Schools (FFS) programmes. From 2017 to 2021, we trained 2,611 smallholder palm oil farmers and restored around 250 hectares of forest land in the project area, which is the equivalent to 350 football pitches. In total, the team cultivated 17,532 tree seedlings in nurseries. These were distributed to individual farmers, planted in schools and on the edges of sacred forests, and used to help restore natural reserve areas.

Combatting deforestation

The ALDI SOUTH Group is committed to eliminating deforestation and the conversion of natural ecosystems from our high-priority supply chains by December 31, 2030. As a global retailer, ensuring that our products do not contribute to the destruction of forests is one of our key responsibilities.

Find out more about our actions to eliminate deforestation and conversion from our supply chains.

Partnering for change

Throughout the four-year project, we faced many challenges, including COVID-19 restrictions, and political tensions. However, despite these challenges, 90% of the participants and stakeholders reported positive outcomes in the area, including increased knowledge from the training sessions among community leaders and youth

The project involved various partners and stakeholders, including the Inter-professional Association of the Oil Palm Industry (AIPH). This institution has fully endorsed the project’s outcomes and is now installing tree nurseries in other palm oil-growing regions. Other cooperatives engaged were COOPALEN, UCCOPES, COOPTOSA from the Sud Comoe region, UCOOPALM from the Grand Ponts region, USCOPAHLD from Loh Djiboua and U3SC from San Pedro.

© 2024 ALDI SOUTH Group. All rights reserved.
© 2024 ALDI SOUTH Group. All rights reserved.