There’s no denying that discussions over women’s roles have picked up steam in recent years. The project: Sustainable and Climate-Friendly Palm Oil Production and Procurement in Thailand or SCPOPP is a part of a larger initiative to develop methods for producing palm oil without negatively impacting the environment. It also includes a wide range of activities in which farm women take part, whether as professional trainers or volunteers participating in a committee on group management, or offering suggestions to enhance the project’s activity.
The initiative regularly sees 40 percent of female farmers engaging in the activities, which is quite a high figure for oil palm growers. The activities range from field visits to events and chats with various groups of farmers to encourage them to take part in the action as well. Their participation has inspired and informed the project of the primary concepts that women farmers like them have contributed to the development of sustainable palm oil.
“Brave” – uncompromising like a southern farmer who must adapt daily
Most farmers have passed down palm plantation management from generation to generation. And the majority of the farmers are quite elderly. Guidelines dictated that they took care of the garden. However, the movement towards sustainable palm oil production is growing. As a result, farmers must adapt in order to enter the system and stay current with market developments.
“I know that running an oil palm plantation as I used to is sufficient to make a living. Sustainability necessitates a significant amount of change, particularly greater attention, and cannot be accomplished alone. We need to gather a small group of farmers and collaborate as a group. We must have the fortitude to abandon the traditional methods of doing things. Even if, you are concerned about, whether it would be beneficial and whether you can earn more money than before, there are no options. I never hesitated to give my entire cooperation. If there is an issue, it will be resolved gradually. There is a solution for everything.” says Ms. Renu Phusuwan, a farmer from the Thai Indo Lam Thap community entrepreneurship organization, RSPO.
“Dedication” – when obligations go beyond farming.
The initiative has frequently observed that the farmer submitting an application to join the project uses the male pronoun, but female farmers would join the training activities and were taught in their place. Conversations with them reveal that oil palm plantations are typically run by families. The husband works a full-time job outside the house, such as in the government. The stay-at-home wife has more time to participate in the activities. In order that their families can live well, eat well, sleep well, and live happily, female farmers must shoulder more obligations than their spouses, kids, or mothers. However, if it was not for the commitment to upholding the responsible actions to the best of abilities, the management of oil palm farms would never be sustainable.
“My mother is aging and suffers from a congenital condition that requires care but when my partner asks me to take part in project-related activities, I’m prepared to give it my all. I may occasionally request that the group study and train online at home if I am unable to attend the session.” says Ms Ubonrat Phueakdaeng, a farmer from Khaotor Oil Palm Grower Community Enterprise, Plaipraya District, Krabi Province. Even though her face appears sad, she has a resolute expression and a smile, and when the elderly mother, who is seated on the floor, smiles and returns the welcome, the memory becomes even more unforgettable.
“Life earnings” that increase longevity but are not derived only from palm oil revenue. What matters, though, is your own resolve and motivation to grow and improve.
The mix of “profit” and “pleasure” is more nuanced and effective.
“Para rubber and oil palm were my sole first plantings. But in order to educate oneself and breed cows thus increasing the production of compost and other items, hens and ducks that lay eggs may be sold separately.Today marks the beginning of making palm oil in a sustainable manner. Consider these suggestions as you move forward so that you can help us achieve our goals. It’s entertaining to cultivate oil palm grove throughout the years with the hopes of making it self-sustaining. Get money by buying and selling eggs. Then it grew all by itself.” One of the farmers in the Khao Tok Sub-District, Ban Kiansa in Suratthani province, who produces high-quality palm oil is Ms Sureeporn Chaiyot. She is a farmer and she is 50 years old; she is determined and does what she wants to make full use of the environment. Inspiration and mental well-being are subject to external factors. That right there is a glimmer of joy.
“Opinion Leader” the unsung heroes who guide their fellow farmers to a sustainable future
The initiative also makes use of technological resources, such as apps. The app was designed with the intention of being used by farmers for keeping records and administering palm groves. Still, it’s not something that most farmers can adjust to overnight. It needs someone with keen insight and original thinking. Because of this, it will guide farmers to reach their final goal.
“In spite of my initial surprise, I’ve come to like the i-Palm app, for the simple reason that it’s a good twist for our palm farmers. Yet, I made an effort to grasp, how to use it, since I saw its value. And it is really useful in overseeing our oil palm plantations. I encourage all team members to use i-Palm and encourage teaching till comprehension is achieved. So that we can keep track of our earnings, we keep records of how the plant develops to identify what’s missing and what needs to be added. At first, there was resistance. But I’m attempting to track down farmers on my own to show them the ins and outs of using them. This has resulted in improved data management for our team this year. The evidence is consolidated here and easy to see.” Ms. Nantiya Koratamee is a farmer in the Tha U-Tae Sub-district, and she belongs to the Palm Farmer Community Enterprise Group. One of the project’s female voices, full of pride and enthusiasm, she stressed that learning new technological skills requires nothing more than time and persistence. And first and foremost, there must be a central leader who backs, inspires, and advises farmers to make it happen. Now is the time to accept and adapt the concept of using more technology in the production of sustainable palm oil.
“All-round knowledge”, not just garden management abilities. A female farmer with high EQ can react tenderly and open-mindedly
“I am constantly up-to-date on the latest events. And then I bring it here to share with the rest of the members and modify as necessary. Europe takes environmental preservation extremely seriously. As a result, resources that won’t harm the planet must be used. They have spent a lot of time getting ready. There’s lots of moving to do when we aim high. That said, we are well aware of the situation. We anticipate that our efforts will have far-reaching consequences. We gave it our all, but we never gave up on the mission, no matter what stood in our way or the new technologies that aid agriculturalists. There is a high price tag attached to everything. I just never considered these to be needless expenditures. As an investment, it yields profits in the form of long-term worth.” An important point made by Ms. Sudarat Nurod of Sri Charoen Community Enterprise Group Green Palm Oil Krabi is that this applies equally to men and female growers. Sustainably managing the oil palm plantation requires a commitment to lifelong education and improvement, a complete understanding of all aspects, and applying what has been taught to strategic management analysis and planning.
Lastly, in every fight that has brought women farmers this far, some people may not see or even think about how powerful their roles are. To this day, many intelligent women have valuable insights to share. It’s a good thing to work on, and we can only hope that the Sustainable and Climate-friendly Palm Oil Production and Procurement project will be part of women’s motivation to have an optimistic outlook, be proud to be a part of keeping agriculture going, and be proud to be “Female Farmers.”