Joann de Zegher selected as SAWIT Challenge Finalist

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Joann de Zegher is one of nine selected as a SAWIT Challenge Finalist. She will be pitching her sustainable palm oil solution in Jakarta, Indonesia November 17-18, 2016.

FSE is excited to announce that graduate student, Joann de Zegher, is one of the nine innovators chosen in the SAWIT Challenge to pitch her solution to help independent smallholder farmers produce palm oil sustainably. She will present her idea to international businesses, government, and NGO leaders in Jakarta, Indonesia November 17-18, 2016.

The nine finalists submitted their ideas to solve the biggest challenges facing independent smallholder palm oil farmers in Indonesia: financing, farming inputs and best practices, mapping and land tenureship, market information, as well as product traceability and transparency. The innovations are designed to make sustainable, more profitable palm oil production.

The SAWIT Challenge is run by Smallholders Advancing with Technology and Innovation (SAWIT), a partnership between the Oil Palm Smallholders Union, and the Indonesia Business Council for Sustainable Development, with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development.

De Zegher’s solution offers a substantial price incentive to smallholder farmers who comply with buyer sustainability policies, but only passes on a very small portion of the cost to buyers. The innovation leverages the simple fact that small farmers and large buyers have substantially different cash flow needs. It also helps to shorten and strengthen the palm supply chain from smallholder farmers to mill.