Netherlands Joins Forces with Colombia in Promoting Sustainable Palm Oil Production

On Thursday, June 13, 2024, Deputy Ambassador Marc Hauwert and Agricultural Counsellor Léontine Crisson represented the Netherlands at the National Palm Oil Congress in Bucaramanga, marking a significant step in the collaboration between the Netherlands and Colombia's palm oil sector. Their participation aimed to strengthen ties with sector stakeholders and promote sustainable practices within the sector. The Netherlands is the most important importer in Europe of Colombia’s RSPO-certified palm oil.

Foto Nicops
Beeld: ©British Embassy

During this event, the Dutch representatives engaged with various sector players, including members of the National Federation of Palm Oil Growers - Fedepalma, government officials, businesses, scientists, and representatives from Solidaridad Colombia. This allowed them to understand the dynamics of the Fedepalma conference and the diverse stakeholders involved in the palm oil sector. Furthermore, the Netherlands Embassy had two primary objectives for attending the conference:

  1. Signing of the Netherlands as Observer to the Colombian Zero Deforestation Agreement for the Palm Oil Sector: This agreement, led by Solidaridad, aims to ensure that Colombia's palm oil production remains deforestation-free.
  2. Launch of the NISCOPS Program: The Netherlands, in partnership with the UK, has committed to funding the NISCOPS program, a 4.4 million euro initiative designed to enhance the sustainability practices of smallholder farmers in Colombia’s palm oil sector.

The NISCOPS Program

The NISCOPS (National Initiatives for Sustainable and Climate-Smart Oil Palm Smallholders) program, presented during the conference, is a crucial part of the Netherlands' support for the sector in the context of the new regulation of the EU on products free of deforestation. Implemented by Solidaridad Colombia and IDH, the program focuses on:

  • Training approximately 3,500 smallholder farmers in sustainable palm oil production.
  • Helping farmers comply with the European Union Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) set to be enforced later this year.
  • Supporting adherence to the national APS Colombia sustainability standard, paving the way for RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) certification and access to international markets.

Colombia stands out globally for its commitment to sustainable palm oil production, with 99% of its palm oil being deforestation-free. Fedepalma is already collaborating with Dutch company Satelligence to monitor compliance with the EUDR through satellite technology.

Nicolas Pérez, President of Fedepalma, emphasized the importance of collaboration during the launch, noting that both the UK and the Netherlands are key importers of Colombian palm oil. This program is expected to enhance the socio-economic and environmental practices of smallholder farmers, boosting their income and market integration.

The Netherlands' commitment to supporting sustainable palm oil production in Colombia highlights the importance of international cooperation in achieving environmental goals and fostering economic development within the agricultural sector. With ongoing efforts and collaboration, the future looks promising for Colombia's palm oil industry and its sustainable growth.

If you would like to know more about this event or our initiatives in the palm oil sector, please feel free to contact the LVVN office in Colombia at