Guidance Manual Smallholder Certification in Biomass Supply Chains

Jun 2013

The purpose of this manual is to provide guidance to companies and others, such as NGO‘s, governments and standard certification/verification organizations, that wish to work with certified smallholders in biomass supply chains. The manual is intended specifically for biomass supply chains. However, research into the characteristics of biomass supply chains revealed that most findings also apply to smallholders and certification in all food/agricultural supply chains, whether specifically intended for the biomass-for-energy market or not.
The guidance manual is comprised of three phases: scoping, preparatory and implementation. These phases coincide more or less with the phases identified in most other certification schemes. However, rather than describing the certification process itself, this document seeks to provide guidance on how to successfully approach smallholders and include them in certification processes. In general, any certification process involving smallholders, requires an aggregation strategy to be practical and economically viable, given the prohibitive transaction costs that would be involved in seeking to interact with individual smallholders. As a consequence, the smallholder groups need to have internal monitoring and inspection systems. In addition, smallholder farmers need to be empowered, as without this, via a better access to information, improved bargaining positions, etc., anything else will fail.
The guidance presented here offers practical information, including specific strategies, recommendations (Do‘s) and advice accompanying the steps identified within each phase. These strategies and suggestions seek to strengthen and empower the smallholder(s) (groups) and/or try to lower barriers for them to increase access to certification schemes. The information is based on lessons learned by certification initiatives and experts from various supply chains with on-the-ground experience regarding smallholders and certification.

By: NL Agency

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