Driving a dual agenda of social-economic development and ecological conservation, we’re proud to launch our Cameroon Outgrower Programme.
The Cameroon Outgrower Programme is our next step in improving the livelihoods and economic viability of local communities with a long-term outlook. In line with the Group’s Sustainable Natural Rubber Supply Chain Policy (SNRSCP), this programme will educate and empower on a large scale, aiming to benefit approximately 13,000 local Cameroonian smallholders.
We are actively engaging with village-based smallholders with a minimum land area of 2 ha, and are pleased to see that the programme is already gathering momentum locally with interest from over 2,500 individuals so far. Meanwhile, our social and environmental checklist will assess the eligibility of candidates according to our sustainability commitments.
Up to 27,000 hectares of land has been selected for the initiative, with the first year planting of 750 Ha on track to start in August 2019. All land selected must strictly comply with Corrie MacColl’s sustainability policy commitments concerning degraded forest, fallow land, the replanting of old rubber or the conversion of other crops. High quality rubber clones and planting material will be provided directly from Hevecam and Sudcam nurseries.
As well as the guaranteed purchasing of raw material, we will prioritise the teaching of agronomical best practices in order to drive sustainable employment. Furthermore, integrated farming will provide food security opportunities, with a mix of rubber intercropped with plantain, maize, red bean or groundnuts and combined with livestock of fish, pigs or chicken. We are also in discussion with local NGOs, including SAILD, to provide technical support and materials for crops and livestock and have interest from local fertilizer companies to provide training and distribution support.
We have engaged Proforest Limited to develop the candidate and land criteria, an NGO specializing in natural resource management and practical approaches to sustainability. Proforest will develop the onboarding criteria to ensure compliance with our sustainability policy commitments of zero deforestation. At later stages, they will train local Sudcam and Hevecam teams to perform the onboarding assessments against this checklist. Considering social and environmental factors, the checklist will be employed to assess clauses such as the land-use by nearby communities, any documented evidence of land acquisition and its significance as a habitat or legally protected area.
Financial Access, a financial services firm dedicated to emerging markets, will support the programme through agri-finance at farmer and higher value chain levels, as well as multisector supply chain finance solutions. The team will review the financial models of the 8 intercropped farming plans, and will provide recommendations on blended financing schemes for scale-up of the Outgrower Programme. A data collection tool will also be developed by Financial Access to provide baseline environmental and credit risk assessments for smallholders during the onboarding process, with the local teams trained in the implementation of this tool.