The research program will focus on oil palm sustainable production and use, with special attention to smallholders, intercropping and the use of wastes of residues from processing. Sustainable increase of production and added value per hectare will positively affect the income of smallholders and, on the other hand, reduce the need for deforestation. A more efficient production and use of oil palm supports Dutch policy on deforestation prevention in the tropics.
A consultation between the State Secretary of Economic affairs and her Malaysian counterpart in the context of "THE MALAYSIA-NETHERLANDS JOINT WORKING GROUP (JWG) ON TIMBER AND COMMODITIES" led to the initiative to execute joint oil palm research. In 2015, the first talks were held on the subject by Frederik Heijink (EZ) in Kuala Lumpur and Malaysian counterparts and a first meeting was held between Malaysian and Dutch researchers to identify research subjects. In 2016 a consortium of Dutch researchers with extensive experience in oil palm production and use were asked to make a proposal to initiate and develop the cooperation. This resulted in a research program proposal to be executed between Wageningen Food and Biobased Research (WFBR), Wageningen University, Plant Production Systems (WU) and Hal Larenstein University of Applied Sciences (VHL) and Malaysian counterparts with a duration of 3 (to 4) years.
In 2015 consultation was started with Malaysia to initiate a research collaboration in the field of sustainable oil palm research. The research program is focused on sustainable oil palm production and use, with special attention to more efficient production by smallholders. The use of residues, recycling of nutrients (phosphate, potassium) and the reduction of negative socio-environmental impacts, including the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, supports Dutch policy to reduce deforestation in the tropics. The increased sustainability of oil palm production is expected to have a broader application, also in other countries than Malaysia. That is important for the Netherlands as one of the biggest consumers.