The palm oil industry is plagued by controversy over unsustainable farming practices such as deforestation. Some NGO's have called for a ban on palm oil. But is that really the solution? We do not think so.

Instead we believe that palm oil can be produced in a sustainable manner. In order to initiate the required setting, the smallholders in Honduras need access to knowledge and tools about how to improve their agricultural and environmental practices. This will ultimately improve their livelihoods.

Wilmar Europe initiated together with AIPAH (National Association of Palm Oil Producers in Honduras) a capacity building project called WISSH (Wilmar Smallholders Support Honduras). Olenex and Nestlé have been supporting Wilmar Europe's project since day one.


Honduras is the third largest palm oil producer in Latin America and an important supplier for the European market. The smallholders produce approximately 40% of the national palm oil supply.

wisshful thinking

Some people say this is just wishful thinking and it is a dream that will never come true. However, making a change starts with yourself and creating partnerships is crucial for the success of this initiative.

With the help of AIPAH, alliances have been made between the mills, their representatives and the individual smallholders. Nevertheless, it was not easy and required hard work and commitment to the goals and change ‘wishful thinking’ into ‘WISSHFUL THINKING’ to really make a difference.


The WISSH program aims to empower the smallholders with improved technical knowledge and agricultural management skills.

The project increases the awareness of the national palm oil industry of environmental threats by implementing the NDPE standards. It stands for ‘No Deforestation’, no developing on ‘Peat’ lands and no ‘Exploitation’ of people.

WISSH went local and established collaboration between Wilmar, AIPAH and NES Naturaleza. The latter was assigned to implement this extensive three year training program.


... and pass the knowledge on ...

Educating people in the palm oil industry has been proven to be complex due to the number of people and their diverse locations. By forming partnerships and structure in the training sessions, knowledge can be passed on much faster and reach more people.

It has allowed the trainers to provide a high quality training program and create better understanding of the NDPE policy, our environment and their improved livelihoods.


The unique concept of this program is to educate the mill supervisors to become professional trainers for the smallholders. Besides reinforcing their technical abilities in agricultural practices, NES Naturaleza has equipped the mill representatives to change the industry from within.

In total, 488 training sessions were organized by NES Naturaleza and 50 mill supervisors, reaching 3300 smallholders over the country, addressing 6 comprehensive topics:

  • NDPE (No Deforestation, Peat nor Exploitation)
  • Good environment & Agricultural practice
  • Good business practice
  • Pest & disease control
  • Social responsibility
  • Monitoring & control

170 WISSH Assessments

But it hasn't stopped here. Training is only a first step. Change only happens when the knowledge is also implemented and maintained.

To make sure that the enthusiasm for change does not fade, as many as 170 assessments have been organised to help the smallholders with their next steps into a more sustainable production.


Wilmar and AIPAH are organizing a completion event on October 16, 2018 in La Ceiba, Honduras. Palm oil producers, smallholders, even the international industry and government representatives will attend the event.

The goal is to expand the knowledge and experience of this pilot project and contribute to the international consensus towards sustainable palm oil production.


What will the future hold? After three years of pure will and commitment, WISSH brings hope for the future. The smallholder’s mindset has changed towards a sustainable palm oil production. The awareness and mutual respect has dramatically improved resulting in more and stronger partnerships.

We hope that the WISSH initiative will spread to other surrounding countries (such as the existing WISSCo project in Colombia). Although it is still a bit of ‘wishful thinking’, we hope that the project in Honduras is an inspiration for others. We hope that the spirit drives the industry to intensify its sustainability efforts in all countries in the world.

“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make”.

- Jane Goodall

The WISSH program is an initiative of Wilmar Europe sponsored by Nestlé and Olenex. The local organisations AIPAH and NES Naturaleza have organised and facilitated the training programs in Honduras.

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a copyright violation, please follow the DMCA section in the Terms of Use.