Smallholders as a pivotal playerLIVE ROUNDTABLE

Smallholders as a pivotal player

Exploring the challenges and needs for EUDR success



Full recording and video clips available below!


The EU deforestation regulation that is coming to practice has the ambitious aim to zero the import of products associated with deforestation. These include important consumer commodities such as cattle, cocoa, coffee, palm oil, rubber, soy, and timber. As often happens with new regulations, the positive intentions could bring some unintended consequences. In this respect the task of zeroing deforestation along the supply chains represent a tough challenge for millions of smallholders worldwide. How can they comply with a very strict and articulated regulation by competing over price?  

Smallholders – defined as farmers with 10 hectares or less – may struggle to adapt to the new (yet unclear) norms given their limited resources and capital. However, they are a large and important part of the global agricultural sector: an estimated 600 million people worldwide are employed as smallholders farmers, and collectively they produce between 30 and 34 percent of the global food supply. Thus, the EU must play an active role in informing and educating smallholders, providing them with the right tools to meet the requirements.

On April 4th, Competere hosted a roundtable discussion to provide insights on the efforts and challenges faced by smallholders in complying with the regulation, as well as their current states of affairs and what they require moving forward. 

The roundtable will address the following questions:
  • How are the smallholders cooping with the new regulation? What’s their perception of a decision taken thousand of miles away?
  • What are they doing to implement the regulation? What do they need from their business partners, Government and the EU?
  • How can the EU support smallholders in producing countries?

>> Download the key takeaways <<


Read below our criteria for speaker selection

Djono Albar Burhan, Indonesian Palm Oil Smallholder Association (APKASINDO)

Gert van der Bijl, Senior EU Policy Advisor, Solidaridad

U.R. Unnithan, Cofounder & CEO, DIBIZ  


Pietro Paganini, President,

Download the slides

Pills from the event

Djono Albar Burhan, Indonesian Palm Oil Smallholder Association (APKASINDO)

Gert van der Bijl, Senior EU Policy Advisor, Solidaridad

U.R. Unnithan, Cofounder & CEO, DIBIZ

Download the flyer


Gert van der Bijl is the Solidaridad EU Policy Advisor. Before joining Solidaridad, Gert worked 20 years in Dutch agriculture including in a farmers organization and the ministry of agriculture. From 2009 to 2016 he coordinated Solidadaridad’s work in the soy sector with colleagues in South America, Africa, India and China, including membership of the Executive Board of RTRS. From 2016 onwards he coordinated Solidaridad’s work in beef & leather, including membership of the board of directors of GRSB.

Djono Albar Burhan holds a BA in Information Systemsa and a MA in  International Business. He currently owns and manages his family’s palm oil lands and is part of APKASINDO‘s International Relation and People Development Department. In that capacity, he meets with stakeholders including the Ambassador of European Union for Indonesia to discuss palm oil in Indonesia and for the European Union. He also represents APKASINDO in the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC) where he recently met with people in Asia Pacific, Africa and Americas sharing how Palm Oil Benefit Indonesia and the Good Agricultural Practices of Palm Oil.

U.R. Unnithan  is a technocrat with 37 years of corporate experience starting with Unilever and then as CEO of Carotino – a Palm Oil downstream company in Malaysia for 22 years. Currently the Cofounder & CEO of DIBIZ– a Blockchain powered digital platform. He is also the Founder & CEO of SUMWIN Group specializing in developing value added process technologies. He holds 5 Patents. He is a Fellow of IChemE, Fellow of MIM & President of Malaysian Biodiesel Association. He is a Chemical Engineer and Distinguished Alumnus from ICT( India’s Premier Chemical Engineering Institute), a Gold Medal winner at the NUS APEX MBA Program, is also an Alumnus of the Harvard Business School having completed the Advanced Management Program at HBS and is a Distinguished Toastmaster.

Pietro Paganini is an economic and (geo)political analyst and disseminator, and the Chair and Founder at Competere. Pietro serves as Adjunct Professor in Business Administration at Fox School of Business – Temple University of Philadelphia (2015), and as Adjunct Professor in Business Administration at John Cabot University, Rome (2008). He served as Visiting Professor for the MPOB-UKM Endowment Chair, The National University of Malaysia (UKM) (2021). He served as General Director of Fondazione Luigi Einaudi. He is the founder of the Italian Institute for Privacy – Istituto Italiano per la Privacy e la Valorizzazione dei Dati – where he seats in the Board. He is a regular contributor to the Italian national newspapers and international publications and media, in which he has continuously advocated for an open society and innovation policies. He is regularly hosted in TV and radio talk shows on main Italian and international broadcasters.

Criteria for speakers selection

Following our aim to present diverse perspectives and voices, the organizing team at Competere conducted research into the smallholders community, with a focus on Indonesia, which has one of the largest groups of smallholders globally, particularly in the palm oil supply chain (over 6 million). Through this research, we established contact with Apkasindo, who represents the largest group of Indonesian small farmers in the palm oil sector. Based on the criteria of knowledge of the topic and familiarity with the English language, the speaker was selected by the Indonesian Palm Oil Smallholder Association and reccomended to us. 
We selected a speaker from Solidaridad, a Dutch-based NGO with a global presence that is engaged with smallholders worldwide, as they possess the knowledge and experience of the smallholder environment.

While the panel lacks gender diversity, we have requested our speakers to include gender and inclusion in their analysis. We believe that the knowledge and experience of our speakers, combined with their geographic location, will provide valuable insights into the discussion. For example, they will explore whether different genders or ethnicities are impacted differently by the EUDR.

All stakeholders engaged in the planning of this discussion panel were made aware of our Diversity & Inclusion principles and our Code of Conduct. They were invited to contribute with the most diverse perspective. 

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