“i-PALM”, a mobile application set to boost sustainable palm oil standard
Writer: Thitinai Pongpiriyakit, GIZ Thailand’s Agriculuture and Food Cluster
A tailor-made data management mobile application called “i-PALM” is ready to help Thai oil palm smallholders boost their productivity and enhance good farming practices.
Developed by the Sustainable and Climate-Friendly Palm Oil Production and Procurement (SCPOPP) in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture Extension and the Department of Agriculture, the application is aimed at enabling oil palm smallholders in Thailand to access data, which is regarded as an essential tool in farming management.
Smallholders equipped with such data as the suitable amount of fertilizer to use and the harvesting period will be able to improve their oil palm management. This practice is also considered part of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) principle. The building of a database will enhance smallholders’ competitiveness and widen opportunities to access the international market, which requires digital traceability and certification. Using the mobile application will also enable oil palm smallholders to better understand their farming performance and improve their farming practices.
i-PALM has two working platforms:
- The web-based platform is suitable for users like group managers and decision makers to manage data, monitor performance and report group performance
- The mobile platform is suitable for individual farmers to fill in their farming data
In 2020, about 30 agriculture extension officials assigned as “master trainers” were trained by SCPOPP teams and mobile application experts in how to use the i-PALM following the completion of the eight-month period of application development and trials. The master trainers began passing on the knowledge in how to utilize the application to more than 3,200 oil palm smallholders in Chumphon, Surat Thani, and Krabi late last year.
Jetsada Chotwattanasak, Group Manager of the oil palm collaborative farming group in Ao-Luek District, Krabi Province, was impressed by the functionality of the mobile application. “It’s awesome to see the preview of my farming status on my handheld device right after entering data into the application. This is a digital technology that we want and need as it can support us in precision farming and we can learn about our farming performance at a touch,” he said.
“i-PALM” is now available on Android. It will be available on the iOS system in March 2021.
Benefit(s) of i-PALM:
- A handy feature for group managers or smallholders for RSPO certification audit preparation (i.e. a checklist for internal audit)
- A simple analytic function to report smallholder’s performance and room for improvement
- A friendly-user design for users to key in their data at farm-level and automatically see their status