The Colombian agricultural sector has traditionally been one of the most important economic sectors in Colombia. From an environmental perspective, agriculture has a significant footprint due to, among others, water use and pollution, greenhouse emissions and waste. Palm oil and bananas form an important part of the bilateral relationship between the Netherlands and Colombia. Colombia is the fourth largest global producer of palm oil. Nearly 12% of total Dutch palm oil imports in 2018 are from Colombia and this volume is rapidly increasing (49% annual increase from 2017 to 2018). Hence, palm oil is the main agricultural product exported by Colombia to the Netherlands. Colombia is also the fourth largest banana supplier globally and the Netherlands is one of the main destination markets. In Colombia, banana growing is often accompanied by plantain (bakbanaan in Dutch) cropping.
Colombia is a pioneer in circular economy in Latin America. In 2019, the Colombian government launched the official National Strategy for Circular Economy (NSEC), becoming the first country in Latin America to set the topic high in its political agenda. The NSEC is a program whose objective is to maximize the added value of production and consumption systems in economic (profitability), environmental (climate change) and social (employment) terms, based on the circularity of flows of materials, energy and water. One of the six lines of action that the NSEC emphasizes (iii) is related to optimization and biomass utilization. The introduction of biobased and/or biodegradable plastics to replace fossil plastics and making better use of biomass, proposed in this project, falls under this line of action.